November 5, 2018
As the media landscape continues evolving, the role of communications is also changing fast. New tools are emerging. Expectations are shifting. KPIs are being re-considered. In this context, how can you, as a communications professional, stay on top of these changes? How can you build a successful communications career in today’s digitally-enabled world?
Here are some tips stemming from PR Week’s annual event, PRDecoded that apply to anyone looking for inspiration or just a new challenge.
Every five years, you need to reinvent yourself
In an effort to avoid becoming obsolete, Dave Samson, general manager, public affairs at Chevron, advised communicators to commit 20 percent of their time every year to learning something new. The idea is to constantly develop new skills and stay on top of the trends.
Yes, skills are transferable, but different experiences will challenge you in different ways
Josh Earnest and Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretaries in the Obama administration, now heading communications at United Airlines and McDonald’s respectively, talked about the differences between working in politics and the corporate world. Professionals in politics tend to operate at an accelerated pace with an intense sense of urgency. In contrast, corporations appreciate the act of planning and the ability to speak the language of business.
Communications professionals have a lot of power, and with that comes responsibility
Charlene Wheeless, principal vice president, corporate affairs at Bechtel, emphasized that your brand’s image – on all levels: corporate or personal – has to match your behavior. What you say needs to be in line with how you act. Only then, can you build credibility and authenticity.
Everything in business is personal
Contrary to the old saying, "It’s not personal; it’s business,” all your interactions in business are personal. Wheeless said it best, "If there are people involved, it’s personal. Period." Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They are probably hiding behind bad news or trying to avoid responsibility. Let’s not forget that at the end of the day, we are in the business of building relationships, and that by definition is personal.
(My favorite!) Perform at your best
Take a step back from your day-to-day routine. You will never come up with a great idea if you sit in front of a screen all day. Go to conferences. Meet thought-leaders. Join professional organizations. Read more. Exercise. Take time off. Recharge. Only then you will be able to perform at your best and make the most of your abilities.
Interested in more tips? Please take a look at the first blog in the series, which features on-the-job best practices.