Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

Your Communications Measurement Reading List for August 2018

This month, we are taking a look at how to grow your career, no matter what stage you are currently at, by incorporating ongoing learning into your schedule. Learning should always be part of our lives. It enriches us and provides us with new perspectives that allow us to be more effective PR practitioners.

Whether you are just getting started in your career or you are in a senior-level position, here are some ideas for professional development and ongoing learning, all right here on your TMS reading list for August!

Getting Started with Professional Development

Professional development is key for learning new skills and sharpening existing ones. Throughout this summer, Spin Sucks has been giving readers tips on improving how we approach professional development. Not quite sure where to begin with your summer learning? Gini Dietrich discusses the concept of “perfect practice” and outlines tips for more effective learning. Once you’ve set your goals, check out Laura Petrolino’s recommendations for online classes and webinars.

Over on Solo PR Pros, they’re also providing some guidance and advice for setting aside time this summer for professional development. With another month still left to the season, it’s worth perusing their suggestions for different ways to grow and learn more before things get busier in the fall.

Learnability, “the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skill set to remain employable throughout their working life” is a desirable skill in employees, but the modern workplace discourages learning, instead prioritizing consistent high performance and efficiency. This results-driven work environment prevents employees from learning new information and pursuing curiosity. This Harvard Business Review article outlines four tips for overcoming this challenge and pursuing your own learning at work.

You’ve probably heard before that personal reading enhances professional skills, but, still, 24 percent of Americans reported to Pew Research that they haven’t read a book in the last year. Consistent reading improves writing skills and creativity and can even extend how long you live. Check out this article from Inc.com for tips on how one writer started reading 50 books a year, the professional benefits of reading, and how reading contributes to a better personal life.

A Gallup poll from 2015 found that 70 percent of Americans felt disengaged at work. Professional development can be a great cure for this disengagement, but many employers fail to provide opportunities to grow for their employees. Not all employers will invest in their workforce’s learning, but with some initiative, professionals can take their education into their own hands. Check out five ways to take charge of your own professional development.

Becoming a Better Leader

Mentoring has benefits for both sides of the relationship. Most mentoring advice feels like common sense, but it can be tougher to recognize what counts as a mentoring mistake. Mistakes can undermine what would otherwise be a fulfilling, advantageous working relationship. This article from Fast Company outlines six things mentors should never do and offers better alternatives.

Business leaders’ days are packed with meetings, calls, emails, and decision-making. Many leaders’ schedules don’t allow for frequent meetings with their employees, and that’s a problem. So much of a business’ success relies on the competence and satisfaction of its employees. A company should align its goals, purpose, and culture with its talent. Without developing these connections, organizations risk diminished motivation and disengagement among their staff. To avoid these potential problems, an organization’s leader should plan regular initiatives to engage with employees and build stronger working relationships.

What steps should you take to advance your career and become an industry leader? Growing your career and influence can’t happen overnight. Instead, these goals require increasing credibility, boosting authority, and building working relationships. Check out these four tips from PRDaily for becoming a respected leader in your field.

Paths to Better Careers

PR is an industry dominated by females. According to a 2017 survey of labor force statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 63.5 percent of PR professionals are women. Although women make up the majority of the PR workforce, they still do not represent large numbers of executive and c-suite roles. This Entrepreneur.com article discusses women’s career advancement and three traits women should look for in organizations during the hiring process.

How should you manage your career as you grow and take on new positions? According to this comprehensive guide from the New York Times, the most important thing to manage is yourself, including your habits and tendencies that can derail your success at work. Broken down into four sections, this guide covers how to build a strong foundation, how to improve a job you enjoy, when to stay and when to move to a new opportunity, and information on the gig economy. With advice from professors and researchers, this guide offers everything professionals need to know about growing and advancing in their career.

Working in the same field or position for an extended period of time can cause professionals to feel pigeonholed and stagnant. This can occur in PR, despite the multitude of responsibilities, branches, and opportunities that exist in the field. PR News discusses the advantages of pursuing a master’s degree in communications to break this cycle of routine work and provide professionals with the knowledge and experience to stand out among others in the PR talent marketplace. Check out more advantages of earning a master’s in PR News’ 2018 Graduate Education Guide for Communicators.

Media Training, Ethics Training, and More

PRWeek carries an interesting piece highlighting an industry-specific aspect of the whole Papa John’s Pizza saga. Paul Raab of Linhart PR notes that ethical dilemmas do arise for PR professionals when providing counsel on a range of issues. Some of these issues surface while doing the job, such as conducting media training or in the midst of a crisis. How many PR professionals are really prepared to handle these questions? Senior PR professionals might be able to rely on past experience, but is that enough? Clearly, the potential exists for junior PR members to get caught up in these types of problems too, and the changing nature of litigation means that perhaps everyone should consider the importance of ongoing ethics training as part of a balanced approach to professional development.

It’s one thing to require ethics training of staff, but what do we do as AI is introduced into more communications work? Can we–and should we–require that even our AI be “trained” in ethical decision-making? These are interesting questions explored in a post on the Content Standard. As we hand over more work to automation, we need to make sure that ethics don’t become lost in a hunt for efficiency. Furthermore, if AI is “learning” as it goes, a priority must be placed on early ethics, and stop short of applying logic that is manipulative rather than helpful.

The flip side of professional development might just be “intentional invisibility.” Read this interesting piece posted on Futurity detailing a study of working women. Many of the women in the study reported feeling pulled in two directions, and preferred a path with less confrontation than being visible and assertive requires.

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the Director of Marketing Communications for CARMA. She is also the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for more than 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR, content creation, digital and social communications, and media analysis.
Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips
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