Countdown to Christmas: Day five

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Countdown to Christmas: Day five

To mark Advent and celebrate success in the world of internal communication, I’m highlighting a story a day by internal communicators via my blog in a countdown to Christmas.

Every day until 24 December I will be sharing the thoughts of IC pros who have written guest articles, with the final one going live on Christmas Eve.

JessI’ll then be taking a break and be back in January. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my blog this year, it’s always good to feature new voices and highlight what’s working well and what there is to learn from situations that don’t go quite as planned.

I look forward to sharing some new voices with you over the next few weeks.

Today is day five and this article is by Jess Grant (pictured) and was originally published in February this year.

Diary of an IC student

What is it like to study internal communication (IC)? What topics are covered and what value does it add to your career?

Jess Grant (pictured), Charity Communications Assistant for a membership-funded grant-making charity, has written a guest article to share her experiences as she has just begun her learning journey by studying the Internal Communication Certificate at PR Academy.

She is supporting a major nationwide communications initiative raising awareness of the charitable help available to potential beneficiaries through a varied range of communications activities. Jess previously worked for an environmental non-profit organisation in a communications role, preparing volunteers for field-work projects and expeditions across the globe, and says she is “still in sponge mode.” Over to you Jess…

On the train to the first session of the Internal Communication Certificate last month Itweeted the following: ‘On my way to the first @CIPR_UK @pracademy #internalcommunication certificate session. Nervous!

And, shameless mentions and hash-tagging aside, nervous I was. This is the first formal training I have tackled since graduating with an English degree in 2010, which, whilst undoubtedly useful for my communications role, doesn’t exactly prepare you for ins and outs of the varied world of a professional communicator.

Valuable crossovers
Whilst not specifically working in a typical internal communication role, there are many valuable crossovers working for a volunteer-driven membership organisation, so I opted for the six month face-to-face Certified Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) accredited qualification on the recommendation of my line manager (always a good place to start).

I’d also heard the teaching from PR Academy, the largest provider of CIPR qualifications, to be top notch. I hoped the course would offer me a useful mix of personal interaction and group learning, a decent grounding in theory, and some practical strategic tools to take back to the office. Looking around the room at my fellow students, around 20 of us all told, it seemed we all had this in common.

The first session began with the usual introductory five minutes and a quick run through of what to expect from the course. And then we dived straight in. Day one provided a basic introduction to different theories, including systems, communication, organisational culture and management theories; posed questions about what is meant by employee engagement, how it can be measured, and different drivers for engagement; a look into change communication; the role of managers; and examined different strategic frameworks and planning models and how they could be applied in the work place.

Exchanging ideas
PR Academy
Everyone got involved and there was a useful exchange of ideas. We had some whole group discussions and were split off into different smaller groups for more in depth considerations. The breadth of different industries made the session all the more dynamic; it was interesting to hear the different challenges practitioners face across different sectors and types of organisation.

At the end of the session we were given some activities to undertake over the next few weeks to support the day’s learning. These include a few chapters of reading from the two core texts, some videos from the BledCom Conference, an article on employee engagement, and a few websites to check out. The two core texts are CEO: The Chief Engagement Officer by John Smythe (you can read a book review of it here in a previous guest article – Rachel) and Exploring Internal Communication, edited by Kevin Ruck.

Future sessions will go on to look in more detail at different planning models, tone of voice, and the role of social media for internal communication professionals.

All in all the teaching was excellent and I found it to be a really useful day; daunting but with the confidence that as the course progresses all of this learning will slot into place and really be used in my working life.

Post author: Jess Grant

Further reading:
Rolling out the red carpet for comms courses
Comms pros are qualified to celebrate
CEO: The Chief Engagement Officer review
Jenni Wheller blogs about the Internal Comms Diploma

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