Having studied law and worked at a law firm, joining the Cantera project at Barabino & Partners was my first professional encounter with the world of communications, which I had previously only dipped into through volunteering.
I started this adventure surrounded by the unknown, but aware of having a lot to learn from a job that, as I would soon find out, never stops teaching you. Ever since the first minute, in fact, I have tried to ‘keep my eyes and ears open’ to absorb as much as possible.
Through tens of meetings, gatherings, chats, and tips from my senior and not-so-senior colleagues, I familiarized myself with several words which recur constantly in a communications consultant’s glossary: “value”, “sharing”, “confidentiality”, “creativity”, “context”, “curiosity”, “management”. These are the words that have helped me the most in navigating this complex and multifaceted profession. In fact, they are not just words, but concepts that underpin the most fundamental principles of the job.
The worth of appreciating value
Value is the term that, in my opinion, best represents the soul, the meaning and the aim of the consulting profession. “Appreciating value”, “added value”, “enhancing value” are all variations of the same concept that, despite its many nuances, ultimately means improving.
By observing the more experienced consultants at work I realised that, to achieve satisfying results, one must adopt a proactive approach: a mix between creativity and knowledge of the client and the context. Ever since my first day, in fact, I have been encouraged to pursue objectives designed to contribute to improving the client’s situation.
Sharing is essential in the world of communications. Better yet, it could even be argued that sharing is the very essence of communicating.
A good communicator, though, does not ‘waffle’. I learned that Media Relations, for example, are rooted in the mutual exchange between colleagues, clients and journalists. Information must be shared with the journalist carefully, to ensure it respects the client’s needs and is newsworthy. Some information is not newsworthy, and not all news is tailored to the client’s target base. Being able to identify the ideal medium to convey to the public information that is relevant to them is a basic rule that, thanks to my colleagues’ advice, I was able to pick up on immediately.
The communicator must always be in control. This is one of the most complex aspects of the profession, especially since a consultant has multiple different clients. Knowing how to prioritise all the requests and everyone’s needs is fundamental to being able to effectively organise work. Further still, the consultant has to be aware of the context, which is not limited to the developments of the specific ‘world’ of each client, but rather encompasses everything that surrounds it as well (such as current affairs, politics and markets). As such, the morning press review and reading of newspapers plays a fundamental role.
A different type of management is what a consultant employs during press conferences and events. Participating in these occasions with my tutor and other senior partners, I learned that a good consultant keeps his eyes peeled and must be ready to act reactively or proactively based on the inputs of all other stakeholders.
A special mention goes to the diary and notebook, the consultant’s two best friends. With commitments, sudden meetings and unexpected calls taking up most of the day, it is unthinkable to be able to work without taking notes.
In conclusion, I picture the communications consultant as a professional with a thousand facets. For example, should the consultant build a house, it would be in charge of the operative aspects of the project, like an engineer; he would design the structure, like an architect; he would build it, like a mason, and furnish it, like an interior designer.
Through the insights provided by my colleagues I am starting to fully understand the world of communications, aware of the fact that the professional growth path I have undertaken rests on solid pillars thanks to Barabino & Partners’ “La Cantera” project.
Contributing to on-the-job training of young professionals has always been a vocation for Barabino & Partners. As such, our internship programme ‘La Cantera’ is structured to involve and engage the participants, granting them an active role in the communications consultancy projects.
The ‘Parola ai Giovani’ column is a dedicated space for young people: the pen (or rather, the keyboard) writes about the curiosity, enthusiasm and wonder that is experienced by those who take their first steps as communicators, a job that requires focus, great abilities, and constant commitment. With the hope to see the memories of the start of plenty of satisfying careers recorded here.
categories: Parola ai Giovani