Looking back at 2020 (it’s still January so I still class it as being the beginning of the year and I’m still in reflection mode), one of the most difficult, yet valuable and rewarding things I did for the first half of the year was taking part in the Global Communications Project with Leeds Beckett.
This project is exclusive to Public Relations students, where universities from all over the world join together and work with each other to create out-of-this-world ideas and campaigns for a specific brief.
One of the actual aims of the project is to help you develop your communication skills via the internet, by hosting meetings online, organising everything via emails, chatting online and general online communication, and then at the end of the project, students would travel to a chosen location in the world for that year, where students could meet their team members in person, and then present their work together (of course, this was sadly unable to happen this time round).
We all know now that 2020 had other ideas, and this meant that the uniqueness of the project was slightly sabotaged by the current situation of the global pandemic, as the whole world suddenly joined in with having to learn how to communicate and work with others via the internet. The lockdown began around the same time as the project did for me, so it felt like everyone in the world was learning this new skill together.
It looks like this ‘new working reality’ of online communication and working from home isn’t going to be leaving us anytime soon, and who knows what post-covid working life is going to look like. From the experience of the Global Communications Project, I developed my skills in organisation, presenting, and leadership as well as how to communicate effectively online.
Here I have popped some of my top tips/ideas for how to effectively work online in the new working environment:
- Regular weekly meetings – keep these at the same time and day each week so it becomes routine to catch-up and keep each other in the loop of what’s going on. It’s also good to be able to chat and speak to people on your team instead of always typing.
- Assigning roles – make sure everyone in the team/project is assigned a role or task as it will make the team more productive and also help with when projects need to come together at the end.
- Quick responses – it is important to try and respond to emails/messages as quickly as possible when working online. It’s a lot more difficult as someone can’t come and ask you a quick question in person so keeping on top of emails and messages will help with the whole team’s productivity.
- Enhance your skills – remember that even though you are working alone from home that your team is there to help you with anything you need and use their skills to help improve yours.
- Utilise your strengths – it’s a really good idea to inform your team members in a meeting of your strengths and offer your help to your team so that your strengths can be utilised in team tasks.
- Communicate with your team-leader – make sure to always communicate with your team-leader about the good and the bad. Feedback is really helpful, and they can always help with any problems and guide you in the right direction.
I also have a few tips for any prospect students about to take part in Glob-Comm:
For future students who take part in this project, please throw yourself in there!!! It is pretty easy to sit back and let other team members do the work for you, but don’t! I have developed my skills in organisation, presenting, leadership and I learnt a lot from other team members. I would highly recommend this project to any young PR professionals as a way to make connections around the world, learn about new cultures, develop intercultural and practical PR skills and get stuck in with an amazing PR opportunity to make you stand out from other young professionals in the UK as this is a unique project to Leeds Beckett.