One of my best teachers about strategic communications has been, oddly enough, my dog, Ben. Of course, he can’t communicate the way we humans do by talking but he’s pretty good about letting us know what he wants and needs. And one of the ways he is able to do that is to tune into us. He observes, he senses where we are and responds. We humans are so busy thinking about what we want to say, we don’t spend enough time listening to others, their words as well as their nonverbal cues. I ‘ve sat in so many meetings with clients who thought they’d done a great job in getting across their point because they said what they wanted to say. What they didn’t do is pay attention to whether the receiver of their messages really heard what they were saying. When my dog barks, which isn’t often, I do listen because I know he’s trying to tell me something really important–he senses danger, he wants to go out or he is hungry. He is unambiguous, clear and uncluttered in his message and patient in waiting for a response. We can learn a lot about strategic communications from his example.