Within any organisation I don’t think any role can be as diverse, different and dynamic as that of the head of communications (unless you are the CEO). Every day there are new and emerging challenges that the professional communicator has to face on behalf of the organisation. It is why, for me, the most effective communication leader has to have a wide range of skills and needs to be able to wear many hats.
Communicators have to be problem solvers, diplomats, researchers, trainers, advisers, counsellors, mentors, information gatherers, planners, strategists and of course writers. The many hats can be required at any time of any day, so you need to also recognise the skills that are needed at any point in time.
Modern communication has few boundaries and I really don’t feel that you can do the job if you try and box it in. For any in-house communicator you need a really good working knowledge of the organisation otherwise how can you provide the best possible advice and guidance. This will mean you can spot potential crises before they arrive and hopefully prevent them happening, if not at least you can be ready for them.
It was interesting to read about some comments from Sarah Pinch speaking at Manchester Metropolitan University today. She was reported to have said that PR heads had to speak the language of the board. I don’t disagree with this but more importantly they need to be able to decipher it so that it can make sense to the wide range of audiences from the staff to the public and stakeholders. I was delighted to see that Sarah had recognise what I know which is that PR and communicators are being asked to be involved in more areas of work not less. The challenge remains how to provide the best possible service within a very restrictive budget.
I know that tomorrow I will need to have all those hats available, and I will also be aiming to discuss organisational strategy and priorities but more importantly to translate it into day-to-day activities. All this is what makes communication and PR the most exciting and interesting place to be in any organisation.