Harshita

Looking back at my time in IE when I was studying Master in Corporate Communication, I believe that I received more than I expected. It was not just about analyzing or developing campaigns or communication strategies; it was not just working on various business cases and spending hours with your group mates brainstorming the solution to each of them. The exercises also helped me in getting to know myself better as a communicator and to which extent I would be comfortable being in front of the desk.

When you study Corporate Communication today, it’s impossible not to learn Crisis Communication. During Crisis Communication class, my class had to enact a situation of an Emergency Response Team. Each of us was given a role to play within the team. The roles varied from being the part of the Call Center, the Media Specialist, the Director of Operation, the journalists or up as the CEO. Through this exercise everybody learnt how high pressure could be when there was an accident in the factory of your employer and casualties occurred. No role is trickier than the other; each shared the same burden, responsibility and pressure because your stakeholders are watching your company’s every move.

Being part of the Call Centre Task Force put you directly in contact with families calling about the whereabouts of their next of kin trapped in the accident. Being the Media Specialist means you have the media chasing you every hour for your holding statements. It also means prepping your CEO for a must-soon-held press conference. While being the CEO or the Director of Operations requires you be the face of the company during the good but especially during challenging times. Each one requires not only technical skills (the right tactics, strategy or words), but each has to deliver it with so much empathy that one could feel through not just the words but the tone as well.

Another memorable exercise was when each tasked to perform a speech as CEOs from different companies. We had to write and deliver our speech in different approach and technique. One type of information could be delivered in more than one different way, thus created different perceptions on the recipients. We even had a camera crew filming each one as they took turn performing their speeches in front of the class.

In IE Media Lab located in the beautiful small town of Segovia, the class spent one full day being filmed in the set, delivering speech and exercising an interview. What differentiates this exercise from the previous one was to see how fluent and natural we would be in front of the camera. It was not so much on the content of the message; instead it was to analyze the presentation. I still keep the video of that exercise and I confess that I have watched it couple of times after my graduation out of nostalgia.

I believe the objective behind these exercises is to know how well could you carry out your role in various demanding situation. It’s okay to be comfortable just being the person writing or designing communication materials, but when the situation calls for it do you enjoy being the face of the company? When you are in situation with very heavy pressure, could you handle it? Maybe it’s okay to experience it once or twice in your lifetime but could you imagine yourself developing your path as crisis communication expert? Based on experience I even say that even if you try just to stay behind the scene, when you are really good at what you are doing, your career advancement in the next years might require you to be more on the scene.

I find myself enjoy being on the scene, although I have a long way to go to be a solid performer. Needless to say, I’m glad that the experience in IE helped me realize it. Like what my classmates and me used to say many times: “Communication is not only about what you say, it’s also how you say it”. And in IE we experienced both sides of the coin.

 

Harshita Anindya

Associate Director IE Office

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

Master in Corporate Communication Alumni 2012

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