Overheard in the Hall: Cocka-doodle-you

Today I’m continuing my series on my impressions from PRSA’s Connect 19 conference. In my first post, I talked about the seven things I overheard in the halls at the conference. I’m tackling each one of those issues with this series and have a few thoughts about the next two on the list.

Internal Comms Challenges 2 and 3:

2) We tend to be introverts who have to play an extrovert role. So we are conflicted about our own authenticity, much less the authenticity of our leaders.

3) We crave validation from the c-suite but can’t or don’t know how to earn it beyond producing incredible arts and crafts.

These two challenges are related. In my experience, we IC folk tend to be introverted. Not all of us, of course. But whether we are introverted or not, we spend the majority of our time doing our jobs behind the scenes. Writing, managing projects, advising on strategy, coaching leaders: all of these are done away from the spotlight. We’ve come to believe that the focus should be on what we do, not on who is doing it (us!). We make the company look good, we help employees feel good, we make leaders sound better: the last thing we are concerned with is making ourselves look good.

But this tendency to shun the spotlight also hinders our ability to be better counselors and to earn respect for all of the great work we do. We need to break this habit, individually and as a profession.

I get it. It’s difficult. Because we’re so good at what we do, we make it look simple. And because it looks simple, they think anyone can do it and that it doesn’t require any special skills. And if we don’t have any special skills and we’re doing just fine with the limited budgets and the too-small team we already have, why on earth would they give us more of anything?

Now I’m not talking about strutting around the yard and acting like a cocky rooster every time we do something great. No one likes a show off.

But what I am saying is that we should communicate the hell out of what we do, what it takes to do what we do, how we measure that, the impact that all of it has, the value we’re creating, and why all of it matters to our companies and our employees.

If we’re going to call ourselves professional communicators, then it’s high time we started acting like it and using those same incredible skills to communicate about ourselves, our teams and our work. If not us, then who?

So get to crowing.

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