Ariana Nikitas is a leading Communications Officer who coaches businesses and individuals towards success. Remaining organized, prepared, and confident goes a long way. It's the little things and Ariana's work generates accessible marketing tools that could be used through various spheres of influence. Her impact directly affects multiple industries and links people together.
The value she generates is indisputable and her top strategy, Message Mapping, can be further explored here. Dive into Ariana's interview below to learn more about her career, her mindset, and her influences that enable her to create enriching and empowering experiences for clients, companions, and even you!
What do you do for a living?
I am lucky to be able to pursue my passion of helping people and organizations get their stories heard. As Partner and Chief Communications Officer at Crystal Clear Communications, I work with clients on Message Mapping, media and presentation training, content marketing strategy, crisis communications, and overall communications and marketing consulting.
What kind of student were you?
I knew I needed to get a scholarship to afford college, so I was a very good student in high school. I relaxed a lot once I achieved my goal of getting into the university that was my first choice and enough money in scholarships and grants to attend.
For me, college was much better than high school, with so many interesting classes and brilliant professors. I did well with a few exceptions—classes with boring professors where it was hard to pay attention.
What lessons has your work life taught you?
To manage my time relentlessly—in both my work and personal life.
If your calendar looks empty, someone will take that time. Take control before you look up one day and find you don’t even have time to get a drink of water between meetings.
I block time for myself on my personal calendar and time to get work done on my business calendar. It’s improved my well-being and taught me to make better decisions on how to spend my time.
What is a Message Map?
A Message Map helps you hook your audience in 7 seconds. It’s a one-page document that helps you hold people’s attention by answering the question, What’s In It for Me? A Message Map helps you say it, share it, present it, tweet it, blog it, post it, publish it, or debate it well.
When you have one main message supported by three points and examples on one page, you see what to say, so you say what you mean. It helps you tell your story in a clear, concise, consistent way.
Is this method transferable across disciplines? How can we use this method to enrich and strengthen our lives?
Yes. It is absolutely transferable, and it’s not just for companies. I encourage all of my friends and clients to create a Message Map before every presentation they give—internally or externally. It helps you stay focused on what’s in it for your audience and you come across clear, concise and confident.
Message Maps are also an amazing tool for job interviews. When you make a Message Map focused on what the benefit is of hiring you, it focuses every answer you give on how hiring you will help that organization succeed.
Can you tell us about a person or event that has had a big influence on your life? What lessons did that person or event teach you?
My father was a huge influence on my life. He consistently taught me to think and make decisions for myself, resulting in increased self-confidence in my decision-making.
I often helped him cook, and when I was eight, I was finally allowed to cut the carrots. I asked him how I should cut them, and he replied, “What do you want them to look like when you put them in your mouth?”
When I was 16, I got the car stuck on a concrete pole in the underground parking garage in our condo building. I went upstairs crying. My father calmly went down the garage with me, and he had me get the car out of the space while he talked me through it. I was shaking, but I got the car out of the space. Then he said, “I had to do that or you would be terrified of taking the car out again. Now, go on, get out of here.” He wasn’t mad, and he encouraged me to still drive over to my friend’s house. I did have to pay for the damage to the car.
I have more stories of him calmly instilling confidence in me than I can count. I am so thankful he was my father, and I miss him every day.
Who is your favorite designer? What is your favorite piece of clothing? *If you have a photo in the piece, please include*
I adore too many designers to pick a favorite. Before staying at home during COVID-19, I traveled frequently and often went straight from a day at the office to a night out.
So my favorite pieces of clothing are items that can easily go from a business function to meeting up with friends. One of my favorite pieces is a Porto dress that I bought at Clever Alice. It’s funky, comfortable, and easily transitions from day to night.