Prescribing Advice for New Communicators

Prescribing Advice for New Communicators

By: Chelsea Noel
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My first introduction into the world of corporate communications has been both an eye-opening and rewarding experience, with endless opportunities for learning. Shifting from academic writing to professional writing is a challenge, but it is worth seeing through. While creating written communications for both internal and external use, it is important to keep your audience in mind; complex and content-heavy documents will be less appropriate than concise and direct language in such a fast-paced environment. To help you master the shift from academic to corporate writing styles, I have compiled a list of 5 important pieces of advice relevant for any budding communicator.

1. Simplify. Condense. Highlight. 

If there’s one key piece of advice I’ve learned working in communications thus far, it is to simplify your writing. Brief sentences, straight-forward language and concise pieces are major trends in current communications practices. The use of bold headers and bullet points are some helpful practices to keep in mind. Take time to carefully draft your piece with these tips in mind, and know that your first draft will not be your last. Like academia, corporate communications pieces need to be constantly reviewed and revised, often requiring a number of approvals from managers and directors before completion.

2. Ask Questions

Learning a new job is never easy, especially for a fresh-faced intern or co-op student, so use this time to soak up as much information as you can. Ask questions to familiarize yourself with the regular processes and policies in the office, as well as with co-workers. Not only does this help you succeed at work but it also shows initiative.

Additionally, some companies offer “Lunch and Learn” meetings or training sessions. These informative lunch hours provide the opportunity to learn new communication strategies and connect with fellow communicators who are often willing to share their knowledge.

3. Show Initiative

It’s been said time and time before – showing initiative goes a long way to demonstrate that you truly care about your job. This could mean taking on extra projects or going outside of your regular duties if you see a process that could be streamlined, or resources that need updating. But be careful: there’s a fine line between showing initiative and overworking yourself.

4. Network

A large part of corporate communications is networking. On the first day of my work term, my manager told me that every single communications position that she’s had was acquired through networking. Nowadays, it isn’t your GPA that will land you your dream job – it’s who you know. Build a presence on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, and connect with industry professionals and colleagues.

Again, “Lunch and Learns” are also an effective way to network amongst your colleagues.  Not only do they provide a forum for discussion and positive interaction, but they also do so in a casual and slightly more informal way.

5. Know Your Industry

As a Communications Assistant in the health care industry, I quickly realized that public health is both largely political and highly complex. Having never had previous experience in health care, I immediately set out to research all I could about my organization. I still carry this research out on a daily basis. Staying up to date on current events, and following key industrial organizations and figures on Twitter can provide you with the latest insights within the industry.


Beyond the Article

Posted on January 24, 2014