How to Earn Your Seat at the Table

Terry Hemeyer, Professor at the University of Texas and Advertising and Public Relations expert gave an IABC Webinar over Driving Change and Influencing Organizations. Hemeyer addresses questions such as; How can communications professionals drive change and influence their organizations? Does senior management listen? Instead of asking for a seat at the table, how can communications professionals earn that seat in key meetings in the boardroom or c-suite?

Hemeyer begins with sharing how he helped his team grow in their communications skills– moving them around. It may have been shocking, but “they needed to be thought of as people who had experience across the board” if they wanted to move up in the company. He emphasizes the importance of being on projects and teams that are made up of not just Public Relations people to be exposed to the non Public Relations parts of the company and become a more well rounded professional.

Hemeyer provided a checklist of things that helped his credibility:

  • See things that can be fixed and take them on one at a time
  • Learn about the business, what do they do to succeed?
  • Everything you do should focus on what the organization needs
  • Make sure you pay attention to all functions and all executives– earn their trust
  • Measure results in their terms
  • Stay current on all issues
  • The communicator needs to be the calmest person in the room

Wrapping up his presentation, Hemeyer gives advice on working with people who have different personalities from your own. He says to always have a “can do” attitude and to never give up. The Public Relations business rarely has a 8-5 schedule, passion for communication is the key to success.

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Savannah Pittenger
Peyton Hammond