How do you describe what you do for a living? My two-year-old daughter asked me yesterday as we were having breakfast.
I paused before answering. Hmm, how to explain the role of Communication Consultant to a toddler?
Peppa Pig usually has an episode that I use as a starting point (seriously – it’s an incredible resource to aid conversations about life! – New baby / fireworks / Christmas / illness – there’s an episode for every eventuality). But Comms Consultant is probably the one role Miss Rabbit hasn’t had…
I came up with:
“I help people talk to each other and feel nice.”
She seemed pleased with my answer and understood it. (I also described my IT Consultant husband’s role as: “Daddy helps people use their computers”).
I’d never thought about describing internal communication as helping people to “feel nice” but that’s exactly what we do. That phrase encompasses involvement, engagement, training/coaching I do, morale, recognition – the list is endless!
As a result of our chat I’ve updated the Work With Me page of the All Things IC website.
Keeping it simple
The conversation with my daughter got me thinking. Why do we overcomplicate things, particularly when it comes to language and descriptions?
One of the most popular articles on my blog is How To Write An Internal Communication Strategy, it’s viewed daily and the way I’ve structured it is to remove the jargon and complications that often tangle comms pros up.
It’s broken into clear sections:
- where you are now
- where you’re heading/want to be (objectives)
- how you are going to get there
- how long it will take and why
- what is involved along the way
- why this approach is the best one
- how you’ll know when you’ve got there (measurement).
Feedback from readers of my blog and people in my network shows the article has helped them think through their own strategies. Overwhelmingly the feedback has been “I didn’t realise I could write it like that” and when I’ve asked what they’ve meant, it’s related to the simplicity of the language.
As I wrote in the post: “I often use the phrases I’ve bulleted above as part of the structure. Why? Because packing it full of jargon does no one any favours!”
Further reading: If you’re struggling to understand the phrases used in internal communication, see my internal communication glossary. I created it to help break down some of the jargon and provide clarity.
Do you agree with my description? Does it match what you do as comms pro?
How would you describe the various elements of working in comms to a toddler? Is an intranet/esn a website for friends? Company video = FaceTime/Skype with your parents? Feel free to add your own – you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me@AllthingsIC.
I Tweeted my answer yesterday, and it appeared to resonate with people in my network. You can see their responses online and below.
Thank you as ever for stopping by.
Just been asked by Miss M, 2, what I do as a job. Comms consultant for toddler logic: “I help people talk to each other & feel nice”
— Rachel Miller (@AllthingsIC) March 8, 2015
@AllthingsIC that’s a very good definition! Might try that one myself when talking to grown-ups
@AllthingsIC if only the grown ups we work with could apply the same simple logic at work and not make everything so complicated!
— Callum Austin (@CalComms) March 8, 2015
@AllthingsIC Great answer. I’ve struggled with how I explain it to my kids. Like your version!
— Rachel Moss (@commsbird) March 8, 2015
First published on All Things IC blog 9 March 2015.