5 learnings from Networking at a large event

Over the course of our diploma at SCoRe, we have been asked often about our purpose of joining the program. Naturally, my answers came from academic and limited work experience which may have even sounded generic. Today, this is how I answer the question— I joined this program to challenge myself.’ Networking for the very first time at PRAXIS9 challenged me to let go of my inhibitions and interact with a diverse set of professionals. Shrugging off initial hesitation and a few awkward attempts later, I got into the groove of speaking freely.

Networking made me realise an underrated skill we must try to master—listening. Initially, at mixers like this, students can learn more by listening than speaking. There always will be enough opportunities to speak. Like your battles, you must pick your instances too to avoid redundancy across conversations. I briefly learnt about the nuances of body language, tone, clarity of speech, confidence, and even articulation. For me, it was a lesson in introspection.
To sum up—” The world has a lot to offer, all you have to do is ask.” 

True Partners in Business: Communications’ Seat at the Table

Communication is steadily proving to be an integral business function. Many business professionals have advocated the need for communications to have a seat at the table.  Greishma Singh, VP, Customer & Commercial Leadership, Coca Cola delivered a keynote address on Day 2 of PRAXIS9— Getting Business Ready for Communications followed by a conversation with Mukesh Kharbanda, MD, Fuzion PR Pvt Ltd.

Foremost, to establish business readiness, it is crucial to be acquainted with ‘thy metaphorical mother-in-law’—The P&L statement. P&L is short for a Profit and Loss Statement and it determines the longevity of a business. It is not merely a statement of your profits and losses but a picture of accountability in an organization. All the more reason for communications and PR to be acquainted with. The profitability of a business will invite further investment. Investments will promote research and facilitate expansion. Knowing this metaphorical ‘mother-in-law’ will help one’s business survive this cut-throat market. It is also the key to ensuring the inclusion of communications in important conversations. A word to the wise for startups—being in tune with one’s P&L is crucial to surviving in an ecosystem whose dynamics are pronounced.

Having a bird’s eye view of the business is expected of PR professionals. Ms Singh recommends having a ‘Dual Vision’. One has to be looking in from the outside, with emphasis on the larger picture. The other vision must be mindful of the 3C’s — Consumer, Competitor, and Customer. Market visits are a good practice to have and follow as a part of the research. For a seat at the table, PR professionals must immerse themselves in understanding their core customers and the supply chain. She further goes on to state that there is a massive power in simplicity. Making a complex situation simple and simple situation compelling— is the art to master. A professional who can embody a blend of simplicity and empathy can prove to be an invaluable resource to their organization. Good old-fashioned planning must never be amiss in this blend of simplicity and empathy. PR and Communications must have a wholesome understanding of business functions. Being a communicator is being a forever student — learning never stops!

When asked by Mukesh Kharbanda, MD, Fuzion PR Pvt Ltd. about the functions that sum up the universe of a PR professional’s repertoire, Ms Singh speaks of the ‘Octopus Function’. Symbolized by the eight tentacles of an octopus they comprise of Policy, Marketing, Business Continuity, Crisis Resolution, Legal & Strategy, Investor Relations, Narrative Building, and Stakeholder Engagement. To the 8 key pointers, Mr Kharbanda added that content must be disseminated and made available in several languages, and appropriate channels to leverage the power of Regional PR, especially in a country like India with multiple languages and dialects.

The splendid talk came to the conclusion that PR and Communications are the true partners of a business and deserve a seat at the table, with emphatic agreement from the audience!