The one question I always hate to see when filling in a survey, online or otherwise, is what area do you work in? Whenever I see this question, unless it’s a comms survey, I know that I’ll have to spend an overly long amount of time trying to work out which job area Communications best fits into because it’s not included in the list.
I often spend longer trying to answer that question than I do the actual main questions I’m being asked. A usual list will have telecommunications in it, but that’s not what I do. It will also have HR and Marketing…but I don’t report into either of those areas either. I do work in an office, but office admin doesn’t really cover my role either. Occasionally, I’ll see something around Social, but that’s only a small part of my job. If there’s a ‘other’ option then of course I can pick that but I don’t really like to. Is comms so obscure and rare that it requires to be included in the ‘other’ option? I don’t think it is, but I’m biased…I work in it!
So what is the reason? Do we blame the person who has done the survey? At first I did…but when you fill in your 20th survey which doesn’t include comms you start to think there might be another reason…could it be our own fault? Have comms put themselves in a position where they’re like a child from the 15th century ‘Comms, should be seen but not heard’. It’s standard practice now for any communications to not come from the comms team, but is that the correct thing to do? Should the comms come from the person in charge of the project, for the poster to just appear over night and for people to see when they get to work or the intranet article to pop up from the magical intranet pixies?
Comms teams now spend so much time making themselves invisible but their comms extremely visible, they’ve created a culture where we can be forgotten about! No one forgets about HR, Finance or Sales…they have very clear outputs which people see. But most comms outputs aren’t obviously done by comms. Maybe this is where things need to change, put posters up during the day so people can ask you a question about it or you can draw more attention to it. If you post things on the intranet make sure your name is on it, look at the tone of voice you use…could it be written in the first person rather than standard (sometimes boring) corporate jargon? If you want to promote a new comms channel or project then do a webinar and use your webcam so people can see who you are.
In reality, we spend all our time raising other people’s profiles, but never our own and then we wonder why people forget about us. I make it my mission for people to know who I am and promote myself as well as the projects I’m working on. This might sound egotistical (and maybe it is) but what it does do, is mean people know that I’m the person to speak to if they have a question on Yammer, the intranet or anything relating to what I manage…which cuts down the amount of time they have to spend looking for me and makes their experience as my customer much better!
So the next time you fill in a survey and can’t find comms in the job roles, it’s time to think that the children of comms need to be seen, heard and remembered!