This is an edited version of a post that first appeared on Makovsky’s website.
I’m frequently asked by new hires and recent graduates why communications is a great profession to build a career.
At its most basic, there is nothing more important than communicating to make things happen. Without communication nothing changes, and influencing change is vital to growth.
Communication also inspires feelings: “I’m touched,” “I’m happy,” “I’m disappointed,” “I’m thrilled.” The list goes on. We experience these feelings in response to what someone else says or does that moves us to react. The power of communicating is at the foundation of everything we do as communications professionals. Without it there is no trust, no promises to fulfill, and no emotions to express or actions to be taken.
It is this very fact that moved me to choose communications as a career, largely because of its impact on how we live, learn, do business and form opinions. The beauty of great communications — and the impact it can have — is at the heart of my daily mission. It impacts us everywhere we go and in everything we do.
Communications is equally important whether it occurs among two, 2,000 or 2 million people. We must try to make every word accurate, and choose the right tone and channel to carry out our words. We also need to be cognizant of body language and facial expressions, which impact a communicator’s audience.
Communication helps establish relationships between the communicator and the person they want to inform or impact.
I like how one of the myriad of online dictionaries defines communication as “an act of conveying meaning from one entity to another through the use of mutually understood words, symbols, signs or other semiotics.” No surprises, here. It’s common sense. As communications professionals, our skillset is to clearly make the point we are attempting to convey.
So much in this world is dependent on accurate communications that I have always regarded what we do as a sacred trust. What do I mean by “sacred trust?” It’s the understanding that what is said or done needs to be regarded with reverence, respect, authenticity and commitment. If not, then the engine doesn’t go, agreements are not borne of trust, words are not deeds, and connections are broken.
The communications business can preserve the value of authenticity, instill pride and confidence, open minds, correct mistakes, reduce fear, stimulate creativity and build leadership. Effective communications can move the world forward and improve quality, no matter how small the item or issue may be or how grandiose something may become. Every industry or product that one represents in our business has its own language to learn. There is rarely a moment of boredom.
In summary, deft communications in and of itself is an expertise worth devoting your life to mastering because it opens doors unknown before, and they never stop opening.
Ken Makovsky, APR, Fellow PRSA, is president and CEO of Makovsky, one of the nation’s leading independent integrated communications firms.