Be your audience’s representative

by David Harris on March 4, 2011

When you’re neck deep in an institutions’s management process, it can be easy to forget the outside world. Management tends to manage what it can manage, not surprisingly. And that usually is interpreted to mean the interests of the institution. Who is there to look after the interests of your audience?

As a PIO, you are one of the few people whose explicit job it is to look after the interests of those outside your institution. But given that you’re one of the few and perhaps the only in meetings of senior management, you have quite a burden to carry.

It’s tough to sit in a room full of people who don’t really care about keeping your audiences happy because they are more concerned about what is happening with the budget or where they’ll find enough office space for a new expansion or some other urgent matter. 

There is no easy answer to how to approach this situation and it really comes down to your own process for managing peers. It’s doubly tricky when you are responsible for looking after the interests of your own team in addition to the outside world. 

The best advice I can give in this situation is plenty of thinking and planning before you spend time in those management meetings. It’s difficult to look after too many interests at once on the fly. Figure out what your audiences need, figure out what you need, prioritize the areas of overlap high and the rest lower.

Just always keep in mind that if you don’t look after the interests of your audience, probably nobody will, and that makes your job a whole lot tougher.

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