Content Strategy Forum Conference 2014 Frankfurt, 1-3 July


Kerry-Anne Gilowey

The People Puzzle: Making the Pieces Fit

The People Puzzle: Making the Pieces Fit from Kerry-Anne Gilowey

Knowledge workers bring far more than just their intellectual skills to a project. They bring their fears, their prejudices, their motivations, their emotional history, and their personalities to the table too. At kick-off meetings we openly discuss our roles and skill sets, but these other intangible things are never exposed.

Yet the way that stakeholders and team members interact with one another is almost certain to have a greater impact on the success of your project than which CMS you choose or what goes into your style guide.

Of course content strategists don’t have the monopoly on people skills, but because of the highly cross-departmental nature of our work, we really do need to put in a little extra effort. Whether you’re working in-house or as a consultant, you need to learn to read people’s motivations, understand when and why they might be operating out of fear, make sure they feel heard, and keep your team connected.

In this session I will talk about how to put the people-shaped pieces of the content strategy puzzle into place. We’ll look at how and why people in organisations hide behind job descriptions, project plans, statements of work, and organisational structures. We’ll consider what kind of past experiences or current fears might cause people to behave in destructive ways, and look at ways of handling them.

I’ll draw on my experience of working as an independent content strategy consultant with a range of organisations in various industries. I’ll use real examples wherever possible to highlight the kind of people problems other content strategists might encounter, and offer insight and guidance for handling these situations.


Kerry-Anne Gilowey, August Sun Projects