If you’ve looked at my earlier posts, you have a fair idea what to expect with this one.
I’m using it to help structure my own ideas about what I want to use a blog for, and in general to reflect on, and try to understand, how to help myself achieving some of my professional goals via various communication channels.
Writing these paragraphs after the main content of this post was written, I can say that it turned out it helped me decide on the set of topics I plan to write about in later posts – i.e. to focus on the process of learning about, and writing, a communication plan and strategy. Part of the idea is that, by doing this, I’ll be able to build my own personal communication strategy, which will help me make decisions about the kind of content, and tone, and writing in general I might want to put here in this blog.
By embedding a set of self-referential goals in the writing and developing of these posts, I’m hoping that I will have greater motivation to keep doing them.
Please note – as with the other posts I’ve made so far, the primary audience for this one is me – indeed, it’s not even, particularly, that I’m the audience for it; rather, that it’s useful for me to write it, as the process of structuring it into a text has helped me clarify what I think and feel about several topics I’ve been musing over recently. Maybe I’ll never even read it again? That’s fine by me.
If it might be useful for other people, I expect it would be those who are interested in doing similar things to me (clarifying and building ideas and plans about how they want to organise their own professional communications.)
So – let’s begin by thinking about my current role. This has significant community engagement, and communications, aspects to it.
I have quite a lot of experience of community engagement work – although no formal training in it (although that’s not surprising – there’s not much out there, most people are in this situation).
I also have experience of communications work (planning communications strategy, writing and planning publicity material, managing projects for setting up new communications channels, planning/organising/delivering training material and events, giving presentations, etc.) – however, again, no formal training in this. Here, the lack of formal training is more of an issue, than for the community work, as there are lots of formal study programs available.
What do I mean by "issue"? Hm, I guess it’s a combination of:
- me having a strong sense of the imposter syndrome when I do this work, which is generally unpleasant and unhelpful
- I guess the way to deal with this is to "just" build up my experience and thus skills and abilities in this work, and to make sure I notice that these things are improving;
- I know there is a large body of work on understanding the theory and practice of such work that I am unaware of, which means I am very likely to make mistakes that people who have studied this would avoid
- I guess the way to deal with this is to try hard to make the time to read around this topic (I don’t think I have the resources to study it formally at the moment);
- the expectation that I won’t be taken seriously (or, worse, that I would be resented) by people working in the field who do have these qualifications
- here I feel that as long as I’m open and clear about my qualifications (i.e. being able to describe examples of the work I’ve done in this field), and make a point of asserting that I’ve not studied the topic, then if people are being dismive or resentful, it’s not on me (although their response may of course be a challenge I need to address)
As a (somewhat periferally-related aside) – I read ages ago (can’t be bothered to dig it out/link to it) a discussion somewhere on the Twitters with people asserting that, if you haven’t been formally trained in a subject, you shouldn’t be teaching it.
I disagree. I value the knowledge and insight that comes from studying and exploring existing knowledge on a subject. At the same time, the older I get, the more I appreciate the value that comes from actually trying out the work yourself, getting experience of what works for you, in your hands, to make the thing happen, that you want to happen. My feeling is that, as long as you assert "I am not trained in this topic, but have X years experience doing this kind of thing, and it’s on that basis that I’m teaching you about it" then all is fine.
So. Anyway. I like the idea of using these blog posts as a context to address and slowly build for myself a better understanding of the domain of knowledge and understanding of communication (and related) studies.
I’ll anyway want/need to be writing notes for myself as I learn about specific topics, as I need to address them in my own work – and using this blog as a place and context to write something somewhat-structured about my thoughts on this, including the references I find useful and some comments on them, will perhaps help clarify and order my approach to engaging with these topics.
Yep. I like that. That could work for me.
I’m also generally interested in the processes one can go through, to communicate more effectively as an individual, to help achieve life and career goals – by planning strategy and tactics, and through collaboration with friends and colleagues.
I’d like to go through such a process, to help me make decisions about other uses I can put this blog to, beyond giving me a context to write down, and thus clarify my thinking around, various topics.
With that in mind, I think I’ll next write about the process of building a communications strategy.
This is something I need to do:
- currently in a specific work context;
- may need to do again in a different work context;
- am interested to do in my work with the "charity" (gemeinuetzliche eingetragene Verein) I work with (HUB Unseminars in Bioinformatics e.V.);
- and want to do for my own personal professional communication goals (see above).
So the resources I commit to exploring ways of building an effective communications strategy, could be valuable in several different contexts, giving greater potential for a significant return on investment (ROI).
In addition, perhaps what I learn while doing this, and the resources (including blog posts) I build for myself while doing it, can be usefully shared with some other peoople, so that it’s easier for them to do this kind of thing themselves.
Job done with this blog – it’s helped me decide what I want to write about next, and clarified for me several reasons why that’s what I want to do.
Looking forward to learning more about communications strategy, writing about it, and sharing what I read, and the resources I build for myself, with you.