Rock Products

OCT 2014

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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ROCK products • OCTOBER 2014 www.rockproducts.com 44 A lot is implied by the word "profes‐ sional," but one of its strongest conno‐ tative meanings is "expert." In the 20th century, a college education with a degree in English, journalism, public relations or advertising made one a communication expert for life. Today these degrees provide essential foundational knowledge and skills, but competence in public communication requires a skill set that needs constant updating. For letters and speeches we organize our thoughts around theses, introductions, bodies, and conclusions. For news outlets we generate lead sentences and organize information into the inverted pyramid. While these skills are still important, they covered almost everything we did 20 years ago, but they represent only a frac‐ tion of our communication output today. Public relations, advertising and market‐ ing are leading the way as advancements in communication technology create new media for interacting with business publics. Every communication executive needs to be aware of new opportunities to send and receive messages, and everyone who is responsible for actually generating and sending messages has to be proficient at using the new media. First Responsibility This responsibility breaks down into two objectives for departments or individuals responsible for business communication objectives. The first responsibility is to al‐ locate resources to keep the communica‐ tion staff up to date. Hiring processes should be upgraded to insure that new communication employ‐ ees are ready to employ the full range of traditional and contemporary media to re‐ search publics and generate and send messages. Budgets need to account for conferences, seminars and training opportunities for current communication employees. Com‐ munication managers need to benchmark peer communicators, and maintain com‐ munication objectives and methods that will lead or at least stay abreast of the competition. Second Responsibility The second responsibility is informing and training associates outside of the communication department so they can employ the most effective communica‐ tion technology and methods as they in‐ terface with their coworkers, customers and the community. This involves adding communication skills to job descriptions, hiring processes, and the bonus system. It also will require ongoing education and training. Ideally it would be a good idea to send all exempt employees to a yearly communication training retreat. Minimally, the communication staff can in‐ clude articles about communication on company web pages, in employee publi‐ cations and in emails. Communication training can also be scheduled as part of larger management training events. Broad Range of Cultures The aggregates industry is made up of a broad range of business cultures from small quarries to large conglomerates. Some operations have no one job dedi‐ cated to managing communication, some may use consultants, and some have large staffs that include lobbyists, publicists, in‐ ternal communication managers, web page and social media specialists, and large marketing and advertising teams. One job responsibility that everyone can create might be called Communication De‐ velopment. Whether it is one of many re‐ sponsibilities for a manager in a small company or a training staff in a large com‐ pany, someone needs to have the respon‐ sibility of monitoring communication opportunities, keeping the rest of the or‐ ganization informed, and providing train‐ ing opportunities for key communicators. The company getting the best feedback from employees, customers and the com‐ munity will be able to make the most de‐ sirable work environment, products and services. The company communicating most effectively through the changing media environment will attract the best members of the workforce, lure the most customers, and reap the greatest profits. Consider how communication technology has changed your lifestyle. How long can you go without your cell phone? What per‐ cent of interaction with your children, friends and coworkers is through email, texting and Facebook? What was your com‐ munication profile ten years ago, and what might it look like 10 years from today? All of us as consumers and citizens are constantly evolving with new communi‐ cation opportunities. Businesses need to understand that staying ahead of the com‐ munication curve is not an interesting ex‐ periment; it is a matter of survival. E Thomas J. Roach, Ph.D., has 30 years experience in communication as a jour- nalist, media coordinator, communica- tion director and consultant. He has taught at Purdue University Calumet since 1987, and is the author of "An In- terviewing Rhetoric." He can be reached at thomasjroach@gmail.com . Professional Development for Communicators By Thomas J. Roach Competence In Public Communication Requires A Skill Set That Needs Constant Updating. COMMUNITY RELATIONS

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