Key communications learnings from Tracy Kremer of New Teacher Center.
What experience in your career have you learned the most from?
I learn every single day – whether the experiences are intense or mundane. It’s easier said than done, but I try to take time to evaluate how something turned out and why it went well (or didn’t) – then use it to improve. It’s a mindset that’s served me well throughout my career.
I will say I tend to learn most when something fails, I’ve made a mistake or when the stakes are highest. Those also make for the most entertaining stories. You know, after enough time has passed.
When handling delicate topics what are the most important things to keep in mind as a communicator?
Find out what’s in the best interest of your organization and anyone else involved, do the right thing and be as authentic as possible. That’s worked for me whether I’ve had a tough call from a reporter, uncomfortable decision to make or otherwise awkward situation to navigate.
I’ve seen the most success when people involved feel heard and trust what I’m saying.
How do you keep up with the changing PR/communications landscape?
I surround myself with people who spark my thinking, and who I think are pushing the boundaries of our field. Sometimes that’s in real life – people I work with, the team at McGrath/Power and people I’ve met over the course of my career. But often it’s virtual – posts from the carefully curated list of people I follow on Twitter, the blogs I regularly scour for advice (I’m looking at you, HubSpot!), and keeping up on what other nonprofits and companies are doing.
How do you see the PR/communications field changing in the next five years?
Organizations and companies whose success relies on changing minds and reaching broader audiences will need to invest more heavily in PR because the way we get our news and information is more fragmented than ever before. While it’s good people have many ways to dive deep into the issues and communities they care about most, they are moving away from more comprehensive news sources and into echo chambers where they’re likely to only see content that reinforces their own ideas and perspectives. But as PR professionals, we will need to provide evidence that we can actually change minds and reach those broader audiences, so I suspect we’ll see better and more reliable tools and approaches to measuring our impact.
What is your favorite city and why?
I know it’s cliché, but sweet home Chicago. While our questionable politics often put us on the map, we actually have top notch cultural institutions, incredible restaurants, a vibrant music scene, parks and – something a lot of people don’t know about – long, sandy beaches. There’s something to do every night of the week, every hour of the day. I love traveling to other cities (especially when it’s cold back home), but I’m most at home in my happening city.