Claire Cunningham - Director - Rockallwight PR
As the implications of the global Covid-19 pandemic became apparent for many organisations in 2020, at Rockallwight PR we experienced something unexpected. Almost overnight, existing or potential clients saw an element of urgency around communicating effectively to their audiences. Our support was seen as crucial and as a result we have been very busy helping clients to gain clarity on how they want to present themselves to the world, during these unusual times.
As a communications professional, my time has been spent helping people think carefully about who they are, what they want to say about themselves and how best to say it. As always, clarity and consistency of message have been most important. At times life has felt quite far from normal but it is clear that communicating well and the skills and knowledge that I have aquired to help people do this are as important as ever now, if not more so.
Global events over the past year or so have had a very localised effect. Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement have all converged to flush out big issues that have implications about the way that we all live and work together. In addition to my communications and PR activity during Covid, I found myself working as part of an interim communication contract for a government agency on an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) project.
This enabled me to use skills that I would usually deploy to help clients build an approach to PR, to achieve results while working on something quite different. I led a team of seven female volunteer / colleagues in a collaborative project to produce an ED&I report for a directorate within an organisation. This included serious recommendations for significant change.
It really felt as if I was sailing on an historial wave. The work felt deeply relevant, urgent and important. Every day news headlines played into the issues that we were discussing in our zoom meetings. My ability to draw on my PR and communications skills and knowledge to support this felt like a gift. I was reminded that regardless of any material reward, knowing that you are 'doing the right thing', is best of all.
One of the biggest things that came out of the past 18-months of working life for me is the value of knowing how to collaborate effectively with others, while achieving results. The importance of listening, patience, flexibility and understanding others' perspectives emerged over and over again.
The pandemic has created a crucible for change and has accelerated learning opportunities for many as they work to get a grip on how best to deliver in changed times. I remain hopeful that we will return to a better 'new normal' with important lessons learned and a renewed humility, aware that we are always learning and always developing.