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28

JAN

2016

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand

 

 “Empowerment is managing the practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with individuals so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance”.

 

In a world where communication and confidence are crucial to one’s success, it’s imperative that students who graduate from institutions of higher learning are equipped with all the necessities required to enter the working world.

 

These necessities are fairly basic. For example, being able to articulate oneself clearly, being confident that what you learned is an asset, and being clear about your career choices.

 

When it comes to the communication profession those points are what make you successful. Being in Public Relations teaches you that communication is key- gold even. In my career in PR, I have had the privilege to interview potential interns looking to be part of the profession. Often, our profession is often seen as a ‘soft’ area of expertise yet when put to the test many fail.

 

A trend that is evident from those interviews is that three out of five lack basic interview skills, especially confidence. There appears to be a disconnect between those of us entrusted with mentoring the youth in the work environment and those responsible for skills development at tertiary institutions.

 

We insist on including internships within our businesses to empower the youth and build them into future business leaders, but without the right training and skills development that should be ‘built-in’ at tertiary institutions, we will continue to have a gap in this country and the world.

 

Teaching interview skills is an excellent starting point to educate graduates about how to approach an interview and ‘sell themselves’ to the potential employer. Not everyone will have the same style but each individual has an x-factor and with the knowledge of how to use it, their limits are endless.

 

Being in the PR sphere dictates for constant communication with clients and media. The common misconception with young graduates is that this is limited to having an accent and using big words but when you are communicating with other people your message needs to be clear.

 

If all tertiary institutions particularly in the communication industry, introduce an ‘Exit Workshop’ to their third year students, it will certainly assist in building confidence and empowering them with the necessary tools they need within their chosen industry.

 

The workshop should be a hands-on programme where experts in communication, recruitment agencies and image consultants share their knowledge with the graduates and most importantly engage with them on a one-on-one basis so they truly understand their strengths and weaknesses and build their x-factor with that knowledge. As the Chinese proverb says “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand”.

 

Finally, introducing a mentorship programme is so crucial for all industries and can be put in place for graduates who are interns or full-time employees. The role of the mentor will be to guide and assist the individual with issues that they struggle with and the company culture they find themselves in. Having been fortunate to have had a variety of mentors throughout my career, I am certain that it has helped to shape me as a successful Public Relations professional.

 

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others” Bill Gates

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