With New Year not far away, we asked some communications, digital and PR people what their comms resolution for 2016 would be.
by Dan Slee
New Years day is a new blank page on a book with 365 pages. It's a chance not just to turn over a new leaf but open a new book too.
There's something wonderfully Buddhist on looking not to the past but to what you can do and achieve from now.
Forget the past. That's gone. Look to the future. We've asked some comms people we admire for some New Years resolutions.
Do they chime with yours?
To sit on a swing every day
Stuart Campbell, head of communications at the Planning Inspectorate:
"Sit on a swing every day As children we play all the time and somewhere along the line lose it, especially in the workplace. With my team we will be more playful in our thinking and ideas, unafraid of what might fail, or what might be wrong, or what our colleagues think."
To prioritise more
Kate Bond, head of customer communications and improvement at Aberdeenshire County Council:
"My resolution for 2016 is to prioritise ruthlessly. If it ain't a priority set corporately or identified within my business plan, it ain't gonna get done.
"In a position where I'm often asked to get involved or help out with projects that are important to others - though often not for me - I'm anticipating this may be a challenge. Wish me luck!!"
To not forget why/who/what/when/where/how much?
Sally-Anne Watts, head of communications, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
"Sometimes it’s too easy to be distracted and get hooked on an exciting delivery mechanism. But we must never lose sight of the message. Remember at all times the fundamental foundations of effective communications – why/who/what/when/where/how much? Don’t be what my old mum would have called ‘fur coat, but no knickers.’
To focus more
Catherine Levin is director at Elgin Fire Consulting:
"Stop flitting about and focus. Caught in an endless cycle of checking different channels and failing to get stuck into something more substantial. My resolution is to focus: read a book or just think."
To mentor more
Nicola Davies, director at Straight Bat Comms:
"What I really want to do is mentor more young people new to comms, both to teach them all I've learnt about listening and using your voice. In return I want to learn from them, how to look at things their way."
To ask 'do our customers need this?'
Caroline Welch, head of briefing and news at NHS Property Services:
"To ask myself: 'Do our customers need this and will it increase their trust and confidence in us?' before I plan anything. If the answer is no - stop doing it immediately and forever. If yes, deliver the communication that matters to them, shows we understand their world and can help them fulfil their aspirations.'"
To give more charities a voice
Jude Habib, director SoundDelivery:
"My New Years Resolution is to support charities and community groups to be more confident to tell the stories of and give a voice to the people they there to support or advocate for.
"There are great examples of good practice from large organisations like Mind providing platforms for people with experience of mental health problems to smaller organisations like Voice of Stoke championed by their Expert Citizens a group with experience of complex needs including homelessness, offending behaviours, substance misuse and mental health difficulties.
"But for me I found 2015 was a challenging year with projects involving women with experience of abuse and trauma not getting the platforms that could really make a difference. I hope to change that in 2016."
To encourage comms to be advocates of transformation
John Fox, digital consultant and unawards lifetime achievement nominee:
"My Communications new year’s resolution is to do more to encourage communications professionals to become proactive advocates of digital transformation rather than mere bystanders.
"I will endeavour to show them that an effective digital transformation is not about technology but about people and customers and innovation in ways of working and delivering services. The role of a professional communicator in advancing the digital agenda cannot be overstated, yet I am constantly amazed how many organisations seem to forget that good communication is a fundamental if the benefits of transformation are to be realised."
To do more
Mike Roberts, communications officer, Charnwood Council:
"My New Year comms resolution would be to do more: social media, targeted comms, understanding audiences, measurement, conversations (internal and external), video, trying stuff and more demonstrating clear value of comms activity. Do less: 'because we did it last time' and hopefully far fewer capital letters."
To learn something new every month
Andy Carter is director at Be Ambitious:
"My communications New Year resolution … to continue to develop as a communications professional. I learned some valuable additional skills and gained some great new experience in 2015 over and above what I’ve done in the past. I’d like to learn something new every month this coming year."
To crack analytics
Joanna Goodwin, social media lead at the Office for National Statistics:
My resolution for 2016 is to crack social media analytics- to look past engagement and reach so we can improve different content for different audiences. I’m super interested in tribal marketing and if we can identify interest groups and layer the influence and positioning of people in these groups.
To spend more time to chat in person
Sarah Lay is senior digital officer at Nottinghamshire County Council and comms2point0 unawards lifetime achievement winner:
"I talk all the time - emails, tweets, texts, comments, What's Apps - but in 2016 my resolution is to make more time to chat in person. Online communication is amazing in many ways but there is an extra value that comes with chatting face-to-face that it can’t yet match.”
To spend more time at other people’s desks
Leanne Lawrence, marketing and membership manager at CIRIA:
"If I’ve learned anything over my many years in communications, it’s that front-line colleagues are my most valuable asset. They get our business, understand our customers’ corporate and personal aspirations and interact with them in a day-to-day way that I can only dream of. Sorry guys, you’ll be spending a lot more time with me next year."
To be more brave
Daniel Cattanach, news and media manager Bath and North East Somerset Council:
"Be brave and let go of the reins; inspiring and nurturing others to be creative too. Experiment more - embracing all you love about the job to do it even better. Share successes and lessons learned along the way."
To find time for personal development
Liz O'Rourke, communications City of Edinburgh Council:
"In 2016 I’m determined to find time for personal development – something which falls by the wayside when managing key Council campaigns, including budget engagement! So I’ll be identifying new opportunities to develop my skills and experience further, part of our Communications team’s commitment to complete three CPD items each year."
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.