Lisa Tan on tenacity and resiliency

Lisa Tan on tenacity and resiliency
Lisa Tan, head of communications at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, joins us to chat about her take on comms success.

Why did you choose to pursue a role in communications? For example, has it always been your passion or was it pure happenstance?

Happenstance really. I was at art college and took a part time job in sales, I was quite good at it, so moved into marketing and then communications.

What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important in the communications sphere? Why these skills/attributes in particular?

Listening and watching, getting a feel for people, places and cultures before doing anything else.  Tenacity and resilience are essential if you're going to last the distance in PR too.  

What sort of challenges do you face in your role? Is there a particular challenge that you experienced in the past that stood out?

There aren't enough hours in a day! But seriously, it's a fast-moving environment, there's lots of 'noise', competition and alternatives - so you have to be creative and think about how communications will land with many differing audiences.  

What one thing would make your working life easier?

More conversations and less reliance on email. I can get hundreds in a day. Phone calls are so much easier and quicker to handle.

How is the role of communications perceived in your organisation?

Pretty central to everything we do - whilst I agree and I'm glad it's recognised as such, It can be a doubled edged sword as far as managing expectations goes. With so many projects depending on input from the comms team - we have to prioritise, which can be difficult when so many projects and workstreams are seen as 'essential'.

What do you think the secret of success is when working in communications?

Positivity - it seems like a cliche, but it's so important. No one can be 'happy' all the time, but on the whole, if the communications team in an organisation aren't positive, then everything that follows is so much more challenging.

At React & Share, we’re obsessed with helping our clients measure and report their efforts - what measurements do you think comms teams should be presenting to internal stakeholders?

Stakeholders often like to see numbers - data, statistics etc and whilst they have their place, they don't tell the whole story. You need to know the 'why?'. I prefer qualitative data, it shines a light on what's really going on.

Looking into your crystal ball, what do you think will be the next big thing in communications?

Telepathy would be interesting and very handy!