“Did you learn something new today?” a question we’ve been hearing every day since the lockdown has started. Let’s be honest, this is easier said than done especially in these times when most of us are going through financial, emotional, and physical stress (courtesy COVID19 scare and its impact on the business).
But one thing communications professionals have mastered in these times is dealing with the most unpredictable form of the crisis. Whoever I spoke to since the lockdown has been busy either actioning or strategizing their crisis communications plan. I have also heard that some good folks are moving away from the traditional tactics of pitching trend stories, some are building their own playbook of communications. One thing is for sure when all of this ends, our PR fraternity would come out to be stronger than ever.
With so much excitement keeping us busy that too while working from home, a place where you have a completely different environment vs an office environment. In this madness finding time to learn something new can be a bit of a challenge for some of us. So the question that arises for us is there a way we can plan our calendar to learn something new while we are in lockdown? but before that also figure out what skill set one needs to acquire?
To find an answer to this I went back to a framework I learned about a year ago from an article published in HBR - ‘A 2×2 Matrix to Help You Prioritize the Skills to Learn Right Now’ by Marc Zao- Sanders, CEO, and co-founder of filtered.com, an ed-tech company. In the article, Marc shared a 2x2 matrix of learning, by simply combining time and utility, what you get a simple 2×2 matrix with four quadrants:
- Learn it right away: something that is of high importance and takes less time to study
- Find time for learning it: high utility and needs a lot of time commitment
- Learn it as the chance arises: less important than other options
- Decide whether you need to learn it: low utility but requires more time
2x2 Matrix of Learning
It’s up to you what you really want to learn and how much time you can take out for it, but in an ideal scenario, you would go for a skill set that is of high usefulness and requires less time considering you are already managing home and office 24x7 through the week.
Now that you have a framework, you should try it out and exactly map the skillset you would like to work upon and use this time of lockdown to upskill.
In my case, I identified three important skills I felt as a communications professional will be useful for us in the coming months, here’s my pick :
- Video Editing and Creation- It’s a known fact that video is now the king of content, byte-sized videos have higher engagement rates than any other form of content. Digestible and easy to process product videos are found to be helpful for consumers. To learn the skill of creating great marketing videos I shortlisted an interesting course on Lynda dot com that taught you how to use videos to communicate your story, create product demos, producing feature stories, customer testimonials, and much more with just a smartphone.
- Digital Marketing - There are many online courses out there, but if you want to start with the basics opt for Google Digital Challenge. There are 26 modules to explore, all created by Google trainers covering topics like SEO, E-mail marketing, Social media advertising, etc.
- Content Marketing - There is an interesting course on Udemy, on Content Marketing Masterclass: Create Content That Sells. This course is good for anyone who wants to learn how to map the cognitive buying journey of consumers and how your content can inspire people to take action.
Stay at home and keep learning.
Nikunj Kewalramani is communications lead at POSist Technologies, a restaurant technology SaaS Platform. You can follow him at @nikunj_ramani