My grandma told a tale about the time she called a repair man to fix the heating. This was many years ago before you could book anything online and when gas was cheap.
The repair man turned up and my gran showed him the boiler. He looked it over and checked all the knobs and pipes.
He asked her if it made any unusual noises before it stopped working. She responded. He took out a hammer, identified a spot and tapped the boiler. It burst into life.
“Sorted” he said smiling and proceeded to write out the bill.
“£75!” my gran shrieked. “All you’ve done is tapped it – I could have done that – how is that £75 worth?”
The gas man scribbled his charges on the bill;
£20 – call out
£5 – ‘tapping’ it
£40 – ‘knowing where’ to tap
£10 – showing client where to tap
People generally don’t understand the dedication, skill and experience different professions have in being able to ‘tap things in the right place’. We sometimes don’t equate what might seem like a quick fix with years of hard graft while learning the ropes and ongoing professional development.
Most times all that’s required is a timely explanation.
Communications professionals should be in a position to ensure the bigger picture is sufficiently explained for people to understand something or take an appropriate action.
Sometimes however the expertise required is more than providing the basic facts. It is in being able to influence how the message is presented; to ensure relevant context is conveyed, but importantly, with the appropriate sentiment.
Don’t get the empathy bit right and things can go wrong pretty quick.
A trusted and effective communicator should also be able to advise when there is nothing to communicate or when insufficient detail exists to give valued purpose for communicating. Sometimes waiting for that extra detail can make such a difference.
Our role as communicators comes to the fore when things are changing or when things have not gone as well as they could.
All skills and experience picked up over time that become tools of the trade, help us tap things in the right place and in the right way and importantly show our value as professionals.