As communicators, I believe we are truly honored to watch how communication gets created and experienced at close quarters – especially internal communications. Since internal communications is rarely discussed at external forums or shared due to company confidentiality issues it is by far a greater challenge blurring what students or newbie communicators get to learn.
From my understanding and experience, most internal communicators come in from a wide range of domains such as public relations, advertising, journalism, event management and direct marketing to take up responsible positions in their corporate or marketing communication groups.
Considering the gap between what is taught at institutes and what is practiced in the industry, I am not surprised by the perceptions students have of this field.
Recently, while addressing students of a leading media and communication course at a South Indian institute, I was asked some basic questions which got me to think if we are really doing enough.
a) How is it like in the corporate world?
b) What is a fresher or a newbie in the field of communication expected to do when you start out?
c) How do we know if we are cut out for the job?
d) How do we know if we are in the right assignment?
e) Which are the different roles and designations that exist?
There are a few themes which emerge from these questions –
a) The basics of what this domain stands for
b) Expectations from communicators in organizations
c) Success parameters in this role
From my interactions, it is evident that students are expecting us to be sharing our personal experiences, how we navigated the system, what we learnt along the way, how we applied our knowledge, what ticks and what doesn’t work.
I believe it is imperative that we as communicators do our bit to spread the word on the communication function and why it is so critical to the organization’s health.
So what can you do?
Spending a few hours talking to them can build confidence, encourage them to read more about the subject and contribute towards the development of the domain. Share articles and trends which shape the way communication is done today. Be a mentor to a few students so that they can prepare themselves better. Guide them on how to draft their CVs.
The industry also stands to gain from having enthusiastic people with cool ideas joining the workforce.
I must admit that the industry really needs to add fresher ideas by having committed individuals take up larger responsibilities. I guess it applies to many other functions and industries.
What do you think?