Being a typical Type-A personality, when I chose to go back to school I created a spreadsheet with all the graduate schools that I was interested in and three majors: marketing, strategic communications, interdisciplinary studies. I projected graduation dates and weekly schedules. I created pro and con columns for each track. I was honestly excited about everything that integrated marketing professionals had to offer. I just didn’t know what major to pick.
I finally chose strategic communications after impressive discussions with faculty advisors, and two courses under my belt as an undecided major. Every time I am in a strategic communications class I am reminded of why I made the choice. Whether it’s a guest lecturer or a tangential conversation over the newest social media platform, ideas here are shine like a beacon for a fulfilling career.
This week’s guest speaker, Bill Kula, APR and Director of Media Relations at Verizon provided a lot of food for thought related to career choices as well as media planning. I would like to think he is a great example of a UNT green light presenter. Bill spoke to our class this week about planning for media campaigns and why he chose his career path. He mentioned that from all the career placement tests he took, counseling or a helping profession always seemed to be the path. My ears perked up, and I sat at the edge of my seat the rest of the night.
Since I scored similarly on career assessment tests, I reflected a lot on his insights on a communicator’s roll in the business process. What I took away from the lecture was that strategic communicators may be “closet journalists” but at the end of the day, we are counselors first. Much like a good counselor can teach effective communication skills through behavioral modification, a PR professional communicates effectively through strategic activities. This means listening, and knowing where and when you can act to change a problem for a client. I was reminded of all the times I had heard professors say “people will turn to you. You’ll end up giving them solutions to problems that they haven’t yet identified for themselves.”
The perks of a Type-A personality include prioritizing organization, which fit the traits of a communicator. Bill presented media plans so detailed that they were really inspiring. There was a place for everything and for everything a place. Media plans help you achieve goals, with each element and hopeful outcome accounted for. For that kind of insight and projection, you really need to know your client and most importantly, your consumers. A listener’s ear, an unbiased opinion, and the ability to establish good relationships: all characteristics of an effective communicator.