A strategist who can listen,
grasp and think creatively

Pieter has helped a variety of businesses, organisations and institutions with communication, marketing and business growth strategies as well as execution.
Pieter is a marketing and communications leader, problem solver, strategist, advisor, speaker, presenter, writer, facilitator, mentor, coach.

Presentations and courses

If one course does not fit your needs, feel free to request a combination of elements from various courses.
About the course
Communication contributes the greatest value to an organisation or insitution at the source of decision-making. It’s the baking powder in, not the icing on the cake.” Communication expertise provides external focus, a reality check on how a decision or action will be received in and outside the company and how its reputation, brand and stakeholders would be affected. Good leaders have good communication skills. Communication is an integrated part of any business model and key to organisational wellness. You need communication insight and leadership to manage the power, impact and risk of modern media, labour and stakeholder dynamics and operating in a politicised world. This course will explain the communication disciplines, how they work and how to use them. This will help you to move into communication leadership to the benefit of your organisation, stakeholders, staff, students and yourself.

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Grasp integrated communication and its component parts
a critical leadership competency, application in and outside the organisation, the “casting vote”, the objective and effect of messaging.
Use media interaction skills in communication excellence
use media skills and communication proficiency in all forms of communication and interaction across the various channels.
Apply these insights to leadership behaviour and style
integrate communication skills in leadership, management and interaction, positive and persuasive communication, focus and effectiveness.
Optimize, maximize and leverage good communication skills for achievements and growth
incisive questions, direct response, context, clear briefs, assignments, sharing information and meaning, a compelling vision, ownership and team work.

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Programme content
Use the communication toolkit
electronic, social media, print, face-to-face, staff interaction, events, media, reputation/crisis management – strategy, implementation, integration, The Media Survival Kit©

The integration of marketing and communication
What is marketing? What is communication? Why should they function together?

Live your brand
Consolidate goodwill for tough times and organisational clout – The Gadd 4D brand model, brand communication goes beyond the logo and values, debiting and crediting your brand account, aligning inputs, outputs and outcomes, leverage, maximise and optimise your communication impact.

Apply Communication
Meetings, e-mails, reports, presentations, speeches – applying insights in business processes and procedures, impact, results and productivity, use visual agendas, risk management tools, social media – power and risk.

Become a communication leader
Part one: Your real self, mindset, style, personal interaction, conflict, challenge, inspire, making decisions, Schroder’s Ten High Performance Leadership Competencies, understand business protocol, use humour effectively
Part two: Give inspiring, impactful presentations and speeches
prepare, execute, deliver. Part three: Labour and political dynamics, lead in a crisis.

This course can be adapted as a personal or online presentation or talk.

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About the course
Even the best performing and prepared companies experience reputational, operational or business crises at some stage. And it usually comes when you least expect it.  A natural or man-made disaster, fraud and corruption, strikes or the actions or utterances of a senior executive could all trigger a crisis. Resolving the crisis at a legal, technical or operational level is one thing.  Whether your company or organisation survives, manages, emerges stronger or suffers reputational and commercial damage depends on good, expert and timely communication. Communication is not an afterthought; it is an integral part of your response to a crisis.
Responding to a crisis, threat to your business reputation and your business itself requires proper preparation.

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Programme content

Learn how to:
  • Identify your risks
  • Rate and categorise them
  • Manage them
  • Respond and communicate when they come
The course will help you with:
  • Operational procedures
  • Integrated communication
  • Communicating and interacting with your staff, the news and social media, your customers and stakeholders
  • What you tell them
  • Communicating fast and effectively and
  • The leadership required in such circumstances
This leads to a crisis communication strategy and plan with:
  • Integrated risk management: Identify risks, their likelihood, business impact and measures to avoid, mitigate or manage the risk.
  • Disaster and risk scenarios:  Scope possible and probable crisis or disaster scenarios and record them.
  • Disaster risk management:  Use education, awareness, training and reliable information to avoid or minimise disasters.
  • Detail recovery plans:  Who informs whom, who leads, who decides, what is the primary and secondary response, what are the resources and logistics requirements, standby and disaster operation centre procedures?
  • Crisis communication protocol: Identify a single, mandated, highly experienced spokesperson for all public information and updates, tell it all and tell it fast, tell the truth immediately, facts as they unfold and are verified.  Agree interaction and protocol with relevant external agencies – e.g. South African Police Services and emergency medical services where appropriate.
  • Have a social media strategy: If there is an official communication and information vacuum, viral social media attacks, outrage, speculation, criticism and confusion will fill the vacuum.  Inappropriate or delayed communication will draw criticism and unfavourable media coverage.
  • Emerge stronger: A company that has all the above in place, the necessary expertise and displays leadership can emerge with its reputation and brand intact – even stronger.

The course can be adapted as a personal or online talk or presentation.
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About the course
It’s show time! You have to face a critical journalist, or radio or television presenter for a live interview. Or a tense shareholder, stakeholder, union or staff meeting. If you get it wrong, it is there for all to see – and to remember and talk about. You may have done this before, but on this issue the stakes and emotions are high, people have strong and different opinions. Thousands, maybe millions will be watching………..
What do you do? How do you prepare?
Communication skills are important in any profession – your ability to convey your expertise simply so others will understand and appreciate it. These skills will help you face the toughest test for a communicator and company spokesperson – a live television interview about a controversial issue or crisis with a hostile presenter. Media skills and experience will help you in other tough communication spots and when you are having difficult conversations or meetings.

After this course, you will have a thorough knowledge of different media types, the news process, how journalists work and how to interact with them and to be your company’s best ambassador in media interviews.  You will be given The Media Survival Kit© to help and guide you.

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You the news subject:

The media landscape
the different types of print and electronic media
The news process
what is newsworthy, how is news generated, edited and disseminated?
how they work and the do’s and don’ts when interacting with them
answering questions, but getting your messages across
Media techniques
sound bites, phrasing, framing.
what is a “leader”, “sound bite”, “phone in” and “off the record”?
if you have been wronged or misquoted, what can you do?
how to prepare for an interview, the unexpected, the curved ball
Studio and onsite interviews
how to prepare, what to expect
Handling aggressive interviews
how to remain calm and retain the moral high ground
Contingency planning and crisis communication
the do’s, don’ts and techniques of crisis communication
The Media Survival Kit©
the personal media armoury and guide for media interaction
The interplay between news and social media
how are they different and the same? Understand the convergence.

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You the newsmaker or source:

Find newsworthy material
what would interest the news and social media?
Writing skills
how to write a media release, media response
Offering your story
choosing and interacting with your targeted media
media release, media conference, briefing, background briefing
Choice of spokesperson
training, briefing, access, mandate
plan the communication at source, not as an after-thought
editorial, advertorial, advertising

This Media Skills Course can be presented one-on-one or for a group.  The format can be customised for the client’s specific needs with add-on options of actual on camera and telephone interviews, media conferences with a full assessment and recordings. 

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What Great Brands do:
Seven Ways to Build a Great Brand today
Brands and branding are now driving the world’s most iconic and successful businesses.  Smart start-ups, companies, entrepreneurs and business people have found a new formula for building strong connections with customers that become loyal followers, even brand fans and fanatics. Gone are the days when big budgets and saturation campaigns can force brands into your subconscious.
The new era is about heads, hearts and hands
heads making an emotional decision to buy, hearts making a brand commitment and hands buying and using what the chosen brand offers, gives and shares. 

Seven Ways to build one:

Understand people’s mind space
What is your target market talking about? What are they doing? What concerns them?  What do they need?
Determine your personal brand
Can you describe the single, strongest value you offer to the marketplace? What is your passion?  How will the two combine?
Define your business brand
What are you offering not only in terms of products and service, but also advice and guidance, a cause greater than profit and a desirable social context?
Put your brand to work
Under promise, over deliver. Surprise and wow.
Find your “why”
People buy what you believe, not what you do.
Be authentic, real
That is a sustainable business platform
Have a long-term plan
Do you have an action plan for where you want to be in ten years’ time?

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Persuasive Communication:
How to influence, inspire and get to yes every time 
The difference between just writing and speaking or communicating in an impactful way is what sets business and other leaders apart. Moving from sharing information to persuasion to inspirational leadership is a journey – where are you on the path? Learn the skills, insights and techniques from someone who held senior positions in print journalism and broadcasting and then became spokesperson for six organisations. 
Pieter will share his experience on how to prepare for a public speech, presentation and meeting. Learn how to remain calm under pressure in a crisis and put your message across in an interview with a newspaper, radio or television. Gain insights about writing in a warm, personal, inspiring way.
In this presentation, Pieter will explain how to:
  • Prepare a great communication plan
  • Align your team and execute the plan
  • Use the right words to attract, impress and persuade
  • Win people over who disagree or are indifferent
  • Deal effectively with opposition and bad ideas
  • Prepare for that big moment, that crucial pitch
  • Handle the pressure of media or other interviews
  • Apply the unwritten rules of communicating
  • Handle difficult conversations 

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How to be a powerful Networker:
What the best Networkers know, do and say   
Networking is so much more than exchanging business cards! Pieter has networked with Royals, Presidents, celebrities, footballers, FIFA, Mayors, mortals and some politicians……and has lived to tell his story to many audiences. He mastered the skill in a career spanning journalism, broadcasting, elections, energy, financial services, government and international consulting. He shares those skills and tools, but also the powerful impact of connecting with people, growth and possibilities.
A brilliant network is essential for personal and professional achievement. You need teamwork and networks for success.  Successful business and professional people learn how to inspire, align and energise their teams through powerful, persuasive communication and networks.
Pieter will take you through the structure, steps and techniques needed to:
  • Get the vision and motivation of a brilliant networker
  • Learn the art of networking conversation
  • Build an integrated and effective plan
  • Priorities, focus, time management
  • Engage your team
  • Successfully build and maintain your network
  • Effectively communicate with your network
  • Acknowledge, celebrate, grow, debrief, re-invest

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Smart Communication:
A Hard Skill for Business Success    
“Communication is too important to be left only to communicators”. Communication skills are no longer “soft” skills in business.  They are “hard” business skills.  Get it wrong and you can pay the price in lost sales, opportunity and reputation.  Get it right and you turn a buyer into a customer into an ambassador. Communication mastery is at the heart of the Tom Peters mantra of treating customers like guests and your staff like people.  Customers have become informed, street-wise and vocal.  They do not have to find a newspaper or radio station to bad-mouth your service or sing your praises.  They have connected mobile devices and can instantly air their customer feedback on social media.
Communication and marketing are flipsides of the same business coin, not separate departments. Make sure what you promise your customer becomes true when he or she e-mails, calls or walks through that door.  Make a personal connection. Understand how news and social media work and the do’s and don’ts of using them.  Know how to impress customers, handle complaints, make impactful presentations and pitches and create the best possible first impression and, thereafter, a business relationship. This presentation will give you communication insights, tips and tools to use in your profession or business.
These include:
  • Understanding integrated communication and the tools in the toolkit.
  • Building your personal and business brand.
  • Knowing the do’s and don’ts of news and social media and the skill of communicating through them.
  • Understanding how news media work and using your daily news to hone your own communication skills.
  • Learning to plan and prepare for pitfalls, and handling them when they happen.
  • Optimizing, maximizing and leveraging good communication and marketing for business success and growth.

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Bunkers, Bogeymen and Bold Breakthroughs
The ’94 elections: The story and lessons remain valid to this day. * This talk is especially topical in the run-up to annual Freedom Day celebrations and as a networking opportunity with invited clients, customers and stakeholders.  The inside story of South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 is as relevant today as it was dramatic at the time. The lessons and case studies from that pressurised, uncertain, crisis, yet game-changing time are appropriate for South Africa, business, NGO’s and civil society right now.  International election experts warned that South Africa’s first democratic elections would take one to two years to organise.  It was accomplished, against all odds, in four months.  Imperfect, but widely considered and accepted as the will of the South African people, these elections united South Africans while waiting in long queues to cast their votes.
It was seven times bigger than any previous election, almost 20 million people voted at 10 500 voting stations, a third without water or electricity, in deep rural hamlets and without today’s information and communications technology.  Urban violence, sabotage, bloody clashes between political opponents, even armed invasions tested the Independent Electoral Commission, security forces and those who had crafted a peace deal.  It simply had to be ratified in a general election and 27 April 1994 was cast in stone.  

The IEC grew from one staff member, its chairman, Judge Johann Kriegler, in December 1993 to 350 000 election staff on voting days.  A massive voter education drive saw 6 million manuals in 11 languages distributed countrywide to overcome illiteracy:  voter turnout was 86% plus, spoilt ballots were less than 1%.  

Pieter was in the thick of it:  As Communication Director and spokesperson of the IEC. In a fascinating, scary, humorous and uplifting talk, he will take you on that journey. 

He will tell the story of:
  • The dark hours when the IEC was hit with decisive surprises and crises
  • The superhuman efforts and battle-like logistics to give people that precious chance to vote
  • Frustrating, humiliating and tense negotiations with Bophuthatswana and KwaZulu to participate in the ballot and allow electioneering in their territories
  • Violence on the East Rand, the Shell House shooting, no-go areas and Operation Access
  • How Pres. De Klerk was no longer governing and Mr. Mandela was not yet governing leaving the IEC to hold the reins
  • How international media descended on South Africa expecting bloodshed
  • Court action threats by major political parties on the eve of announcing the election results, almost scuppered a national effort
  • What did we learn from 1994?
  • What would it take to relive our proud moments?
The story starts in 1994, but does not end there. Pieter gives an insightful analysis of South Africa’s journey and reflects on where we are today, decades down Democracy Road.

What has gone right in South Africa the past two decades?  What has gone wrong and why?  How do we improve or fix it?  This first-hand story is about leadership and ordinary people in extraordinary events.  It is South Africa’s story.

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My South African Story (a speech by Pieter Cronjé)  
From John Lloyd, CEO of Brandstorm:
I recently hosted a Smart Thinking for Crazy Times morning business seminar. I enlisted the services of a friend of mine to share the platform. Pieter Cronjé presented possibly the finest, insightful and irreverent talk that I have ever witnessed.  

What made it so brilliant? It was the true story of his colorful, diverse and interesting career. True stories with a strong message make the most brilliant presentations of all.  

I strongly endorse Pieter Cronjé as a brilliant strategist, a superb communications expert and a top keynote speaker. He will educate, entertain and inspire any audience.

Contact Pieter at pieter@pietercronje.com to enquire about consulting and speaking engagements.

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A mentor can add essential life, people and leadership skills, judgment, context, experience and wisdom to talent and potential. Expert coaching can help ensure your best pitch, proposal, speech or interview. An external facilitator with multi-industry experience can help to uncover solutions and growth.