Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 ways to stop disappearing, for communications directors

man shadow in stairwellAre you doing your disappearing act as a communications director? You know what I mean: You're too busy to go to networking events. You send staffers to attend events in your place. You eat lunch at your desk. You've got a new boss/new project/new budget cuts to juggle. You're tired of the same old crowd. You don't have to be in the limelight all the time. But it's far too easy to get drawn into an internal vortex of deadlines and issues. Counter-balance with tactics like these:

  1. Meet with non-communicators: Skip your usual PR groups. Network with other professionals, using your community, subject specialty or cause as a link. You'll stand out and your skills will be valued more.
  2. Join a new PR group and volunteer: Look for a more or less specialized group, one in a different city, or where you can learn a new skill. Volunteer to speed up your networking.
  3. On a board? Don't volunteer to do PR: Why do your day job again? You'll build your skill base and make a wider network if you're on the finance or hiring committee.
  4. New in your director post? It's easy to get buried when you're new...and the best time to circulate. Ask for input while folks think you'll listen. Meet your new beat reporters, neighboring PR pros, area consultants, anyone who can help. Show up at conferences. New is news.
  5. Be social strategically: Dive into a particular social network to ask questions, seek advice, and let people know what you're working on. Find out what they need from you.
  6. Lunch and learn: Sure, lunches seem like a big time sink. But at least a couple of times a month, take out a freelancer, consultant, reporter, colleague at another company. Ask for advice, gossip, leads, ideas.
  7. Gently promote your office with others: Once a month or more, take another office director in your organization out to lunch to find out how your office is viewed...then use that information to build your visibility and support.
  8. Make a professional development plan...for you: Part of your plan should include attending meetings, making contacts and building an effective network. Put the intention into a plan with a deadline and goals to make it happen.
  9. Show up more: You've got lots of options. Don't volunteer for a committee, but show up at more regular meetings of groups you belong to. Decide beforehand to meet two new people, or deepen an existing connection...then do it.
  10. Communicate with video: Adding video--either to your profile or website can help people "see" you differently. You can do this, honest. How about doing a weekly rundown for reporters on big stories coming up, or a brag book sharing this week's accomplishment?

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