There’s a common phrase for us comms folk: “Jack of all trades, master of none.” The premise being that we need to be multi-talented to be effective communicators. It means a multitude of skills and abilities to keep up on how to best promote that message, work with the egos of clients, and work with the egos of your own bosses. It means keeping an eye on the bottom line of the budget while finding a way to fit everything within the budget. It’s providing the same advice over and over while refraining from saying “I told you so” over and over. It’s fixing it, promoting it, editing it, rewriting it, and….the list really does go on and on.

We’re the first ones on the budget chopping block and then asked how to “spin the message.” We’re the last ones invited to the table but the first ones called when it goes wrong. We’re the first ones asked to everything because “you’re in communications” that no one else wants to do. We’re the ones in the background when it’s going perfectly and the ones at the front when it’s not.

The communications world is constantly changing and, as a communicator, you’re expected to keep up with the changes, to be knowledgeable and practical about current trends. You are also expected to justify expenses related to ensuring that your organization can keep up with those current trends. Some days you’re the CEO’s right-hand-man. Some days, you’re the last to know about something that’s been in the works for months. And through it all, you need to be able to constantly think two steps ahead so the big picture is always in view, while ensuring the details aren’t overlooked.

Writing, public speaking, planning, pitching, fixing, enabling, creating, learning, knowing, producing, teaching, convincing, organizing, helping: These are all words lived by communicators every day. A factotum of abilities that are needed in today’s communications environment.



LinkedIn post:  Top 10 skills essential for today’s communicator. (Link to post)

Facebook post: Things I wish I knew when I started in communications (Link to post)

Twitter post: Think you have what it takes to work in communications? Here’s what you need to know. (Link to article)

3 thoughts on “Factotum

  1. Interesting how all of that holds true for so other positions as well. I felt the same way when I worked in IT Support. You need to learn new things in minutes that have been in planning for months in order to help, teach and fix. It’s all part of daily challenges that keep things interesting.

  2. When working in communications it is important to be able to work with all kinds of personalities. It has been my experience that in order to be successful in representing a business or organisation, you must do a lot of background work to fully understand the brand that they want to portray. Being a “jack of all trades” and being able to make suggestions for every kind of budget is definitely helpful.

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