A Question of Comms: Tamara Sperling

The latest Comms pro to sit in my hot seat is Tamara Sperling, Interim Strategic Communications Manager.

Read on to discover Tamara’s advice for people wanting to work in this field and why you need to learn from mistakes.

Tamara will be looking for her next contract role from mid-September 2020 and can be contacted via LinkedIn. If you are looking for a new role, don’t forget to search my Jobs board for the latest vacancies. If you’re recruiting, you’re welcome to place an advert.

Would you like to sit in my hot seat? 
Here’s the questions you need to answer for the chance to see your name here. Thank you to everyone who has submitted their answers so far.

I’ll hand you over to Tamara…

Q) What’s the best career advice you’ve been given or read?

Keep it simple (stupid).

Q) What do you love most about working in this field?

Working in different areas of communications. It’s such a varied career. I started in publicity, became an event manager, moved into corporate communications, worked on stakeholder relations and now I’m moving into internal communications. All of the skills I’ve gained over the years have made me a first-class communicator.

Q) What is the biggest challenge internal communicators face?

Reaching your audience and keeping them engaged is the biggest challenge. I’ve worked for organisations where staff are scattered across the country or are mobile workers. We don’t always have the luxury of creating a mobile app or have access to a modern intranet.

We need to be creative and consider what digital platforms are available (within budget) and ensure two-way communications with staff.

Q) What phrase or statistic do you repeat constantly in your work?

This is supposed to be fun!

Q) What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a career in comms?

Don’t get trapped working in just one area of communications. It’s a multi-faceted industry. Seize opportunities to develop your skills and work with good people.

Take your time, learn from your mistakes and listen. Listening is one of the most important skills you will ever learn.

Q) What does a typical day or working week look like for you? 

I’m currently doing a contract in a fast-paced government department so I need to be agile. I’m often handed work with tight deadlines.

On any one day, I can be working on a strategic communications plan, organising an engagement event, speaking with stakeholders, drafting communications materials and attending meetings. I also manage an internal weekly health and wellbeing session for 30 staff, inviting guest speakers to share their experiences and encouraging staff to speak openly about the impact of Covid-19.

Q) Name a book or podcast you think every communicator should learn from, and why you’ve chosen it.

I listen to the Today in Focus on theguardian.com every day. It essentially deals with the breakdown of communications on a grand scale from the Palace of Westminster to the White House. All the stories are fascinating. I particularly enjoy episodes that explore communications topics.

One story that really stood out was on voice recognition. Are we being recorded by social media or mobile phone companies? It really made me think about privacy, access to information and the importance of clear communications that states you are being recorded!

Q) What’s your top tip to make sure internal comms is inclusive?

Keep it simple. Communicate in an open and honest way, avoid jargon and use plain English!

Q) Where can people find you online? 

You can find me on LinkedIn.

Thank you Tamara.

Read more answers from your peers

  • A Question of Comms: Anne Marie Kiernan, Head of Internal Communications at Kellogg’s Europe.
  • A Question of Comms: Janet Hitchen, Founder and Consultant, JanCo.

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