Magazine article Communication World

Ready for Change: There Are Seven New Roles Communicators Can Embrace, from Talent Scout to Community Organizer. Which Are Right for You?

Magazine article Communication World

Ready for Change: There Are Seven New Roles Communicators Can Embrace, from Talent Scout to Community Organizer. Which Are Right for You?

Article excerpt

In the last issue, we painted a dreary picture of what it would be like for a communicator applying for a job five years from now with only "old-fashioned" skills on her resume.

This particular communicator could plan an event, she could bang out press releases, she could create awesome PowerPoint decks, and she could put a positive spin on just about anything. The only thing she couldn't do was find a job.

Why? Because the old communication jobs are becoming irrelevant. I'm not saying there's no need for party planners, press release pushers, PowerPoint pros and positive spinners. But if that is all you can do, well, good luck.

Since the last column was a bit depressing, now let's see what a typical job interview might look like for a modern-day communicator--someone who is embracing new tools, new roles and a new attitude toward "corporate" communication.

Scene: The HR office, which, because of massive cutbacks, is located in an unheated trailer in the south parking lot. A confident woman, around 24 years of age, is being interviewed for a position--actually, the sole position--in the company's communication department.

HR person: What do you consider your strongest skill sets to be?

Communicator: Well, certainly writing. But the entire field of "writing" has changed so much, and I feel that I've done a great job of adapting to that. I've learned how to shift gears and write for different kinds of media. For instance, I can write a great conversational blog item in the morning, a straight news story for the intranet at lunch, and then a video or podcast script in the afternoon.


HR person: That's interesting that you said blog. We don't have any blogs right now.

Communicator: In my last job, I sat on the social media governing committee, where we not only set up a rotating executive blog, but we also created the rules and guidelines that employees need to follow in all social media, including things like Twitter and Facebook.

HR person: Yeah, we don't allow those things, but it's good that you know about them. What about multimedia? The CEO likes YouTube and wants to make videos. Can you do that?

Communicator: In my last job, I not only coached the executive team on how to do effective leadership blogs, but I also set up the company's YouTube channel for external communications. When I left, we had more than 80 videos up there, and each one of them was tied to one of our strategic priorities. I also created an internal podcast series called "Conversations with Leadership" that was a big hit with employees.

HR person. Interesting. Can you write a news release?

Communicator: Yes.

HR person: Plan an event?

Communicator: Yes.

HR person: PowerPoint?

Communicator: Yes.

HR person: You're hired.

Communicator: Actually, I have about a hundred other offers right now, and I'm weighing them all. So I'll let you know. Is there a bathroom in this trailer?

HR person: No. You have to go outside, by the bush.

Welcome to the new world of communication, where the old skills still matter, but the new ones will get you the better jobs at the cool companies!

And what are those new skills? You got a whiff of them in our fake interview, but let's define them full> In my work as a seminar leader, speaker and consultant, I've identified seven "roles" that smart communicators are starting to take on. They are:

* The Talent

* Talent Scout

* Multimedia Storyteller

* Big Picture Painter

* Community Organizer

* Social Media Coach

* Creative Strategist

Let's look at the first three. …

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