Every one of us needs support in our working lives. We can be more effective, more knowledgeable and even happier in our roles, with some quality peer support and encouragement. Not realising that we all need support is a real barrier and a missed opportunity. A new support group for in-house comms leads aims to fill this important gap.
by Sarah Yates
At the start of the year, Darren Caveney wrote this post. I read it. Then I read it again. And again. It was like he was in my brain stealing my thoughts. So I emailed him and asked to join the Head of Comms Support Group.
Darren’s post hit a nerve with me – public sector cuts resulting in less experienced people moving into the comms lead roles and being expected to operate at the same level as someone proven in the role – hey, that’s me!
I have been known locally as the “attic” lady – (I work in the upstairs attic of one of our buildings, mainly on my own – many skeleton memes have been sent to me in the past) and whilst I have a lovely team who cover web, civic, design and my admin, I don’t get out much or get to speak to other Comms people to spring board ideas with.
There’s no one to ask me if I’m having a laugh and raise an eyebrow when I have an new idea I’m not sure about, no one to challenge me to rethink things and whilst there’s a number of trusted senior manager colleagues I can talk to, they’re just not comms people who see things from a comms point of view.
I’ve been a member of the Head of Comms Support Group for over a month now and I honestly can’t rave enough about it. In just this short space of time I’ve:
- Got advice on internal comms and discussed meeting with two local colleagues to have a chat about it
- Got some more advice on how to handle a challenging media issue
- Sharedmy experience of using a company to source advertising revenue in our residents newsletter and hopefully helping someone out there
- Had a couple of offers from some more experience professionals to do some mentoring with me
- Spoken to someone in Leeds about my experience of being an apprentice and having them in my own team
- Reconnected with some local comms bods who I rarely see anymore because we’re all so busy - I've been invited for coffee with someone I've emailed loads of times and never met
- We’re even planning a face-to-face Nottingham regional meet-up in the next few months.
So whilst to some it might just be a place to network, to me it’s become a real lifeline and it’s made me feel a bit less Miss Havisham, that less bit lonely and isolated in my profession.
If you’ve not already joined – email firstname.lastname@example.org. You won’t regret it*
Sarah Yates is corporate communications manager at Broxtowe Borough Council
*join almost 200 in-house comms/pr/marketing/digital/customer services leads, managers, heads and directors in this influential new group to discuss and share on everything from leadership challenges, restructures and income generation, through to new comms models, internal comms solutions and mentoring.
image via The Library of Congress