They may not seem like similar pursuits, but communications and commuting have more in common than their first five letters.
by Kate Ashley
1. Don’t be afraid to take up space
Cycling through city centre at rush hour, every instinct screams to stay close to the pavement and as far from fast-moving cars as possible. But the more you act like a typical member of traffic – and take the same position on the road – the more the rest of the rush will treat you that way.
Like assertive cycling, great comms requires the courage to stand out and be seen. Dream up big ideas and position your organisation as an expert voice.
2. Technology can help, but you still need pedal power
Electric bikes might have you whizzing up hills, but not without some work of your own. The shiniest gadgets are still just tools and it’s up to you to use them effectively.
Modern comms has access to quick, free and far-reaching platforms – if you put in the work. It might be easy to set up a Twitter account, and there are certainly plenty of apps which can make your work more effective, but the best creative and useful content is sourced by humans.
Technology supports great comms, it doesn’t replace it.
3. It’s better together
Cycling in the sunshine with friends is my idea of heaven. Travelling in a group turns exercising into socialising, as well as offering a helping hand if something goes wrong.
Sharing the excitement, as well as the trials and tribulations, is also true in comms partnership. Kickstart your creativity by bouncing ideas off each other, get inspired and test out new content.
Working together you can coordinate planned activity (especially across multiple partners) and amplify key messages for increased reach.
4. You always need a repair kit
What’s the plan B? I wouldn’t set off on a long ride without tyre patches and a pump; you never know when you might need them.
Having a crisis comms procedure helps to simplify difficult situations; staff understand what action they need to take and when. Be prepared and have the right tools to manage the unexpected.
5. Have fun
Comms and cycling can be hard work, but they are both infinitely rewarding. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
And one way it’s not…
1. You can’t just learn once
The stabilisers may be off but we must stay open to new ideas and different ways of working. Comms is a fast-moving and exciting industry that requires flexibility and a commitment to learning – so keep learning.
Kate Ashley is Communications Officer at the University of Bristol, and loves her bike.
image by Kate