‘It is important to have the right training module right at the start’
The second session of the exchange4media PR & Corp Comm 30 Under 30 Summit deliberated on the prerequisites of honing skills and ensuring seamless adaptivity to the workplace
The 2nd edition of the exchange4media PR & Corp Comm 30 Under 30 Summit and Awards brought together some of the most seasoned names in the industry to deliberate on building a future leader and honoured 30 next-generation leaders in communication under the age of 30.
Of the numerous keynote sessions and panel discussions held during the day-long event, one of the most engaging was the session that discussed the 'Prerequisites of honing skills and ensuring seamless adaptivity to the workplace'. The panellists for the session, which was moderated by Shrabasti Mallik from e4m, were seasoned communications professional Taruna Gupta; Maddie AmrutkaStrategiesr, Founder and CEO, Glad U Came; Megha Behl, Associate Director, Hill + Knowlton Strategies; Vasundhara Singh, Sr. VP Business and Strategies, Value 360 Communications.
Every professional needs to hone their skills, irrespective of the industry or field they chose to work in. And to become competent in your field of work requires constant learning, unlearning and relearning, along with grasping or picking up leadership traits from seniors, mentors and guides along the way. Keeping this as the premise, Mallik kick-started the session with an extremely pertinent question - what are the fundamental lessons that a budding professional, especially in the PR and corporate communications industry, should imbibe from the industry leaders.
Addressing the question, Singh replied, “Fundamentally, there are many things that a budding professional would learn from industry leaders but I am listing out a few key takeaways. First is that learning never stops – irrespective of whether you are an intern or you have reached the senior-most position in your company. Every budding professional in this industry needs to have a very keen eye and interest in learning. It is imperative to understand that while you are working, things around are constantly changing and evolving. The second takeaway is maintaining honesty with the clients' team and focussing on building a personal equation. The idea is to invest in turning the client's communications team into an extended one and working as partners, and also to overcome apprehensions that may arise due to admiration of the client. The third aspect is stability and I believe that stability is the key to attaining industry knowledge and eventually growing in your career.”
Agreeing with Singh, Behl mentioned that today's generation is well-informed and pointed out that the exposure level given to them is much higher. “They are also more exposed to the digital world,” she continued, “When they join an organisation, they come with a mindset that they want to do everything – be it social, traditional, graphics, content.” She also, however, underlined the importance of leaders in enabling young professionals to dissect the knowledge that they have learnt from academic institutions and utilise that in a constructive way in the right place.
Speaking on the importance of how industry leaders and professionals should nurture young talent, Amrutkar explained, “Being a six-year-old company based out of Mumbai, what I feel is having the right culture and mindset will help people to also change their mindset. Because I see there is immense pressure everywhere, irrespective of industries. For an agency, having the right talent is as important as having a proper training process at the start. If you see an IT company, say Accenture, that has the right training module, which, I feel, as an agency are somewhere lacking.”
Behl presented a slightly different view stating that there is a need for a work culture where failures are treated as learning experiences. She elaborated, “I somewhere feel that everything boils down to the work culture of an organisation. I have seen that we tend to generally reward someone when they have achieved a milestone or have accomplished something big. But somewhere I believe it should be the person's work ethic and efforts that we need to acknowledge. Just a pat on the back for trying and putting the best foot forward every day is in itself a success for youngsters. And it goes a long way in motivating people and retaining them in the organisation. I do not believe in the word failure; I think and see it as a learning experience. We need to create a culture where one can make mistakes but as leaders, we need to ensure that they learn from them and come out stronger and better, and not demotivated.”
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