An odd thought occurred to me recently: despite working in communications for more than 25 years, I can’t recall having a single conversation with a fellow practitioner about the mechanics of communications, the how and why it works.

I started reflecting on this and another thought popped into my mind: most of what I do in communications is concerned with changing how people see things. It’s about perception management.

So this note is my starter for ten about how we, in communications, change perceptions.

I hope it will serve two purposes. First, it could be an aide-memoire to practitioners.

Second, it may interest those who wonder why their views about things can be so radically altered by public opinion-formers, social media, eye-catching news and campaigns. It may help such shifts make sense – and may help them resist attempts to sway their opinions.

So what follows is a list of techniques and approaches.

I would not recommend them all. Some are highly questionable – creating fake news, disinformation, and seeding doubt, for example. But I have included them because it’s clear that they are used.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about my take on communications, I have created a series of masterclasses. These are available at They are based upon my work as a practitioner, a journalist and an academic.