In April 2019 I nervously hit publish on my first blog post and a year later I’ve reflected on what the start of this journey has taught me and how it’s shaped my focus as an internal comms practitioner.
Even though I’m on holiday in New York writing this during the Coronavirus crisis I’ve parked this aside for the moment to keep my focus on the past year.
What have I taken away from the last twelve months?
No matter how much I try to plan, there never seems to be enough days in the week to fit in all the ideas I come up with. It’s taken me until now to accept that it’s ok to put some ideas aside until I’ve got the capacity to pick them up.
The other unexpected learning curve that caught me off guard was social media. I admit, I’m online every day so thought I’d have a grip on adding new channels but soon I found the lines blurred between checking channels to catch up on what’s happening and the pressuring myself to post to keep a presence. After attending the Compass workshop I put more thought and structure into how I use social media and it’s been a big help.
I could create a massive advice list from my learnings but here are my top three for you as an #icnewbie that I hope help.
Just take things one step at a time
I still have moments of frustration, like I know many of you do, when I reach Sunday evening and wish I got more done in the week. I set out ambitious plans, weekly website updates and events all to help the internal comms community and you know what, I tried to run before I could walk. Now, I’ve slowed down, taken some time to focus on my wellbeing and spending more time to plan out what the future of Horizon Comms looks like.
Give yourself two to three objectives at a time and keep focused on them and avoid getting wrapped up in continuous to do lists.
Use your networks
Whether it’s reading a blog post, attending a networking event or chatting in a WhatsApp group, I can’t underestimate the growth in my confidence through these formal and informal networks. Many of the people I’ve met online have become good friends, people I can turn to for advice and guidance without fear of judgement. It’s not just comms networks I’ve connected with, wellbeing is something that is now just as important for me.
Get involved with the conversation online. The more people from the profession that actively engage, the better we’ll become as communicators by learning.
Take control of your own professional development
I’ve shared in a previous post about the importance of professional development and I still feel that we should own our development journey. Whether you work in-house, in an agency or as an independent practitioner, you are the one best equipped to think about your continued professional development (CPD). There are lots of great resources and templates to help you so won’t wait till someone asks you, draw up a plan and get cracking.
You don’t need access to an online portal or a company system to start CPD. Have a document or spreadsheet saved that you can spend half an hour each week logging different activities you have done and watch it grow.
What’s next for Horizon Comms?
The latest development was to move from a basic website to a new platform that offers you a better experience. Thanks to an amazing web developer who not only moved the website to WordPress but also gave it a redesign that I hope you like.
Big news however is the launch of two brand new services that will go live on Monday 27 April. These will offer #icnewbies support through a group network or one-to-one mentoring and guidance. I’ve chatted with many of you online and at events to understand the support you need during your initial internal comms career. Keep an eye out on Monday for all the details.
Importantly, I will carry on doing what I set out to do in the first place, provide you with useful content from myself and other internal comms practitioners to provide useful and practical information. If you have a particular challenge or topic that you would like to further know about, please get in touch as I guarantee someone else will also be after help for the same reason.
In the same way we keep the focus of an internal comms campaign at the forefront of what we deliver to colleagues, I’ve not wanted to forget about the foundations on why I launched Horizon Comms, to support #icnewbies.