Obstacles communicators face in the workplace

Being afraid to counsel executives, ask for help or pose questions will only hold you back. Read on to see whether these and other sticking points are keeping you from excelling.

Doing great work means not only executing well, but also identifying what prevents you from doing so.

As you begin this new year (and new plans and projects) start breaking down some of the following roadblocks that might be keeping you from success:

1. Executing tactics without a strategy or objective. When working on teams, I often hear people ask, “What can we do?” instead of, “What are we trying to achieve?” To ensure your work makes a difference and goes in the right direction, begin each project by setting an objective, as well as a clear strategy that will help you meet that objective.

2. Not having the right tools in place. Being a great leader involves giving people the right tools to execute a strategy—and then getting out of their way. Without proper resources and access to them, a project can become overwhelming and take twice as long to complete. The right tools empower people to take success into their own hands.

3. Denying the changing landscape we work in. The PR business and operating landscape has changed dramatically. If you deny these changes, you’ll lose your competitive advantage and countless opportunities. Strive to understand the new landscape, anticipate changes and realistically set expectations for your clients or organization.

4. Not asking questions. What’s holding you back from asking clients or executives important questions? Asking questions will help you better understand the business and the reasoning behind decisions. It will also help you build trust with others-an important, intangible aspect of success.

5. Accepting the status quo. As the saying goes, if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it. However, consider what you can do to prevent it from breaking. Turn off your brain’s autopilot, and start thinking creatively.

6. Lacking integration. Be consistent in your messaging and campaigns, but also in your planning. If everyone on the team isn’t driving in the same direction, you’ll end up going in reverse.

7. Not providing counsel. I often hear clients say, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” Part of your role as a PR professional is to inform, advise and support. If you don’t counsel executives, team members or clients when they need it, you’re not acting in their best interests.

8. Not asking for help. Knowing when and how to seek assistance or guidance is a powerful skill. Every time you ask for help, you’re opening yourself up to a learning opportunity.

What would you add to this list?

Julia Sahin works in financial communications at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s. A version of this article first appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.


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