With the emergence of technology, came an ever changing style of communication. As a professional, it can be hard to keep up with these advances. Not all of us can manage skype interviews and video conferences. Still, communication experts are a necessary commodity for most companies; keeping up with the times is imperative for success. As someone who has continuously worked in the communication field, I’ve come to realize (through many trials and error) that there are specific tools you need to survive. Here are 5 tips for working in communications:
1. Sign up for a cloud sharing account
Cloud storage refers to the ability to store, save and access data on a site, usually hosted by a third party. Such data, including videos, presentations, and documents, can be accessed from anywhere and shared to anyone, making it convenient and effortless. Sites like Dropbox and Google Documents offer free accounts upon registration. This allows any communication specialist to share a presentation, open video files and read documents from anywhere: at home, in a cafe, while riding in the car, or taking a stroll at lunch, all without ever skipping a beat.
2. Sync your calendars
As I mentioned, this is a digital age filled with differing modes of communication. Keeping up with appointments, deadlines and tasks can be daunting; it’s not uncommon for emails to disappear into thin air! To avoid disrupting the chain of communication due to technological errors that are sure to come, integrate a calendar system full of reminders and task lists. My company uses Microsoft Outlook, but my team also utilizes Google Calendar for our event schedule. Being the communication expert that I am, I sync (or connect) my Google calendar with my Outlook, and installed a Google Calendar App on my smartphone. I even have an old-fashioned pocket planner that I scribble reminders in. This way, I have several ways to stay on top of my to-do list.
3. Determine your preferred communication tool
I currently work as a liaison between executives, managers, and directors, all the way down to part-time employees. When you have 10 requests from 10 people in varying levels of the company, your communication style will have to adjust. Don’t worry, this is a strength. You’re an expert, remember? So how can you respond effectively? Determine your preferred communication tool. Email may be the best way to communicate with traveling directors. Making a quick phone call to part-time staff may be a succinct way to handle a request. Scheduling short meetings with executives might be the best use of their time, and yours. Determine this first, then progress accordingly.
4. Become a social media star
Social media is essential to any communications representative. It is our eyes and ears. Whether you are in charge of tweeting messages or managing your company’s Facebook page, you’ll want to educate yourself on the various social media networks available. In the beginning stages of my communications career, I was responsible for updating Twitter and posting to Facebook. But I’d only just scratched the surface. I soon learned a LOT about Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google Circles. Familiarize yourself with these platforms beforehand, and you’ll come across as a seasoned expert.
5. Learn about blogging
I know, I know, blogging has this bad reputation for being the poor man’s journalism. But I have to disagree. Blogging is a great way to provide a “voice” to your company. It’s a useful, cost-effective tool that allows you to share news and information in a personalized way. Don’t be intimidated by the daunting task of learning coding or web design, because you won’t have to. Many blogging platforms, such as WordPress (which I use for professional and personal blogging) and Blogger provide free templates and designs you can either personalize and work directly in. You can even utilize your Tumblr page as a blog, which is common and easy to use. Most blogging sites allow you to connect your social networks to the page, so you are reaching more people by doing less.
I hope you’ll take heed to these 5 tips for working in communications. Remember, the ultimate goal is to work smarter, not harder!