Whether we represent the all-too-often one-person department or a small team struggling to keep up with demands, we can all use a little help sometimes. Get through the next crisis and maybe get a few hours of sleep at night by building a team now, before the crisis strikes.

Inside Your Utility

Maybe you’re the only employee with “communications” in your title, but you aren’t the only staff member communicating. How can you find help inside your utility?

  1. Inventory hidden staff skills. Everyone has that one person at work constantly correcting spelling/grammar. Ask them to do some editing for you, especially on bigger projects. Compile a list of staff with other skills that could help sometimes, like photographers, bilingual speakers, hobby videographers, etc.
  2. Provide information to all staff. Neighbors and friends are going to ask your staff about the utility during a crisis. Keep staff informed so they have good answers. That especially goes for customer service, who likely have the most phone calls and visitors.

Around Your Community

Whether they are in the public or private sector, there are folks in your local area who not only face the same communications challenges, but also understand the area.

  1. Connect with local communication professionals. Make a group on social media, or meet periodically to share ideas and commiserate. You likely can all help each other, and having someone else in your town to support you is a great feeling (for you and for them).

    Not sure where to start? Find peers through these professional organizations: 

    1. Cooperative Communicators Association
    2. American Marketing Association
    3. Public Relations Society of America
    4. International Association of Business Communicators
  2. Coordinate with other local utilities and/or government agencies. You might have similar stories to share and challenges to face. Who might have a tool or knowledge that would help you in your work? Establishing these relationships can be critical if you need to work together after a natural disaster.

All Over the Public Power World

You’ve likely heard it before – it’s awesome to be part of the public power community! We really do want to help each other and gladly share a wealth of experience and resources.

  1. Find your “super connectors.” Find the person at the conferences who seems to know everyone or who shows up in a lot of state/regional/national publications. Not only are they great resources themselves, but these folks can direct you to others. 2022 connection opportunities:
  2. See what others have done (and make it work for you). Unless it’s copyrighted (which is pretty rare around here), borrow an idea and adapt it for yourself. Follow social media channels and get newsletters from other public power utilities for a regular flow of inspiration.
  3. Get feedback on your projects. Find fellow communicators who need you to look over their productions sometimes, and ask them to look over yours. Enter some awards contests if you can, because you can get some pretty great feedback from judges, too.

OK, that’s a long list. Grab a couple ideas and work on them. And, on the flip side, if you’re one of those great resources yourself, reach out to the ones you hear and see struggling. My thanks to those who have done so for me. 

At the risk of using a horrible pun here, remember: Connection is what the public power community is all about.