10 comms tips from an NHS Chief exec

hipstamaticphoto-538589198.326329As a communications professional what is it your chief executive really wants from you?

That’s exactly the question posed at the latest NHS Provider comms network and luckily there was a senior leader on hand to offer some advice.

David Bradley, chef executive of South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust offered a detailed insight into what those in the top job are looking for from their senior communicators.

“Comms should be at the top table and play a big part in the decision making process. It’s essential and should be at the heart of the organisation” he explained.

So far, so good. But what exactly does an NHS chief exec want from comms? Here at the ten things that I jotted down from his session:

  1. Be a good communicator. It sounds obvious but not always the case. There are good people and hard workers but not everyone working in PR is a good communicator.
  2. Understand the business inside out if you want credibility with senior leaders. You need to understand what the organisation does and have detailed knowledge about all the services it delivers.
  3. Know the difference between objectives, strategy and tactics.
  4. Be a good negotiator who is able to get on with other people.
  5. Don’t be afraid to challenge power but do it in a way that’s constructive. Having said that don’t go deliberately looking for fights.
  6. Understand your best channels and understand how you can connect with all your audiences.
  7. Be resilient and supportive especially when things go wrong. Because at some point they will go wrong.
  8. Respect confidences.
  9. Be an optimist. We’re all in really hard jobs but don’t let that grind you down.
  10. Above all, deliver.


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