Be strategic with the tactical, and do an Adobe course if it’s where your passion lies


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This week a question was asked to the IC Crowd about skills required for jobs in internal communications. The specifics were around recruiters telling someone they needed Adobe skills for a role and it has divided opinion. From some saying it makes a mockery of the specialism to others saying it is a skill they are looking for in job adverts they have put out at the moment – so where does this leave us and is it really an issue to debate?

Internal communications is broad. That’s often my opening line when I lecture for PR Academy on the internal communications diploma – it’s why I love it. It has allowed me to focus on various elements within it and given me the chance to grow into the strategic communicator I am now with a focus on efficiencies in organisations. That’s not for everyone. People in my team often said they didn’t want the strategic role as the content and channel management is what they love.

Both of these things are ok, and both are internal communications.

We need excellent copywriters, channel managers, digital experts and more. If I still had the team I used to have, I probably would be getting them on courses around videos on iPhones and making use of Biteable and Canva. If I could get them to a basic level on Adobe Photoshop I probably would – would I do it? Probably not.

We need people in internal communications who are passionate about people and helping organisations work better. We need people who want to focus on channels and content and campaigns. People who want to be digital experts when it comes to digital transformation – we need everyone.

But there is a difference between a graphic designer and a communicator and that shouldn’t be blurred. I can help you structure your presentation to engage an audience, but I’ll need a designer to help me make that look amazing and bring it to life. They are different skill sets and while sometimes that graphic designer sits in the comms team, it’s not internal comms.

The skills we need depend on where we are in our career and where we want to go. There is no right or wrong. If it doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t interest you then you know that’s not the bit of internal comms you want to explore. There is no one size fits all and that’s what I love about what we do!

All I ask is that whatever element you want to focus on, be the best you can be at it. Continually learn from others, upskill in your area and read. The debate around strategic vs tactical is an old one so let’s be strategic with the tactical, add value to the organisations we serve and be brilliant communicators.

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