Margaret Keys’ core concepts for strategic communication enable individuals to disarm their audiences, connect with them, and do business authentically. She has created a vocabulary of her branded concepts to manage attention, invite collaboration, express empathy, and maintain boundaries firmly and gracefully.


Is your message right for your audience? Does it match their reality? Does it add value? If you answered "yes," you are in alignment with them. Alignment is the logical aspect of connecting with your audience.


The relational aspect of connection is attunement. Attunement occurs when the audience knows that you understand them and are willing to meet them on their ground. They listen to you from their frame of reference, not yours.

Connect don't perform.

Authenticity / Authority

When in the role of persuader or activator, you may feel as though you need defenses and control—not your usual persona. What you truly need are skills for navigating the tension between being responsive and being yourself.

Context / Subtext

Before you know your content, you must know the subtext. Be sure to devote time to discerning and decoding your audience and their context. Master the context, and then the content will systematically follow.

Random Access

After your opening frame or positioning of your point of view or idea, be ready to provide information and perspective in response to questions and interruptions. Follow the energy and curiosity of the listener. Don’t get stuck in your deck. Let them drive the discussion. Don’t make them wait for you to get around to the points that interest them. Let them access your knowledge on their terms. Answer briefly and let them ask follow up questions if they want more. Practice letting go of your usual sense of control. You will have more control. Learn where the levers of control are in this dynamic.

Strategic Candor

Honesty gets more complicated as you move into more visible roles with higher stakes. Simplify by telling the truth in the right place, at the right time, to the right people with grace and courage for the common good.

Verbal Drafting

Create a connection between your head and your body and "muscle memory" early on. Speak out loud and "verbally draft" your thoughts using a frame to test drive the sequence and sense of what you want to say. Start in conversational mode, not scripted written mode. Internalize, don’t memorize. Don’t write your thoughts or talk or slides first. Talk it first. (Especially helpful practice and skill for introverts).

Verbal Economy

Make your point without wasting words. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Don’t be afraid to pause and collect your thoughts. Don’t think out loud. Listen for and practice cutting unnecessary qualifiers and extras such as "I think," "I feel," "The reason is." Cut out "so" and "well" as lead-ins.