Sabrina Nicholson on listening and observing

Sabrina Nicholson on listening and observing
Sabrina Nicholson, marketing and communications executive at BMS Group, joins us to chat about the shifting reputation of communications.

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

I have always enjoyed connecting with people whether it be in person or online, so when I came out of university communications seemed like a well-suited industry. When I moved from Johannesburg to London, I saw amazing opportunities that suited me as a person but I knew that I would be challenged in.

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

I think being a good listener and observer are essential skills to have. Whether it be internal or external communications, you are responsible for communicating the message in the best way possible and taking everyone’s opinions into account. So listening to what people have to say, observing how they react and formulating response is why I think these skills are essential.

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

I think the biggest challenges are that people will always have differing opinions on how things should be communicated. It’s one of the aspects where if you run into differences, it is not about your personal opinion but rather the opinion of the organisation or brand.

What one thing would make your working life easier?

Planning ahead. I cannot stress enough how much this has helped me! Communications can sometimes be very fast paced and it can be made a lot less stressful if certain things are planned in advance. I use calendars for social media, mailing, press releases and Newsletters and always have them ready before hand so if anything does come up, I don’t have to sacrifice the quality or rush a piece of communications.

How is the role of communications perceived in your organisation?

I think it is perceived as quite important. I think all organisations have almost shifted in regards to what they think about communications after the pandemic. Communications in organisations were essential it getting all this new information out there and also creating sense of community with updates on staff etc.

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

I think it is looking back at past work and asking for feedback on things. Every 3 months I go back on social media posts for example and see what did better and what did worst and formulate a plan from that for the next quarter. Asking for feedback is great, especially in internal comms, as you need to get an idea of what people want to hear.

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?

I personally think quarterly reports are great, it provides a good time window for there to be actual changes taking place. I think engagement should be focused on as a metric as in this current day and age, keeping people engaged for more than 7 seconds is the goal. I also think it is really important to not only provide results but extremely important to come up with an action plan based on those results. Stakeholders may not go ahead with it but at least you can help open up the floor to ‘What’s next?’ rather than the next quarter being exactly the same as the last.

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

I think the next big thing, it is currently starting to happen, but organisations building big campaigns around awareness days. It is great for both companies and employees and creates a huge sense of community whether its Pride month, Women’s Day, Black History Month etc,  it’s one of those things that is so simple but if done correctly it can make a huge difference.