Taking the first step on your CPD journey

Taking the first step on your CPD journey

It was a good two years into my first internal comms role before I came across CPD and perhaps like you are now, I didn’t really know where to start or what to do.

Looking back 7 years later, I wish I knew more about CPD and had some practical tips and suggestions to help get me going.

Continuing Professional Development or CPD is something that is often spoken about between peers or published on social channels but if you’re not part of a membership body or don’t have a workplace scheme then where do you start?

I’ve shared some personal tips from my own experiences and those from other communication professionals to help you get your CPD started.

Before you read the below remember, your CPD isn’t a race. You can set your own pace, adjust your plans to fit around your current commitments as you have the control over what you do next. Give yourself the time and space to focus on your professional development, reflect, prioritise and escape from your desk to set yourself the right environment.

It doesn’t need to cost

Your development doesn’t need to hurt your bank account and if you haven’t joined a membership body yet fear not, there are plenty of activities that you can do that in many cases are free.

Kimberley-Marie Sklinar, IOIC #FutureNet committee member

‘For non-members search using hashtags, spend time reading blogs, listening to podcasts/webinars and attend non-member events. Whatever you attend, take actions and note outcomes from what you read, hear and see’.

David Wraith, Director of Inside Edge Communications

The use of frameworks is helpful in assessing where you are currently and where you need to develop. Check out the IOIC Competency Framework that will help you.

Matthew Batten, IOIC #FutureNet committee member

‘If your not in a professional membership body and have zero budget then grab a learning diary from the internet and make use of all the freebies! Podcasts are free and easy, follow #internalcomms for blog posts, book club chats and articles. Oh, and read AllThingsIC always!

How to make a start

As suggested by Matt above, grab your pen and paper and stop worrying about needing to use an online system. I would start by taking yourself somewhere quiet and try writing down the following:

Goals – Think about 2-3 things you would like to work towards achieving over the next 12 months and note them down. Each goal should focus on a specific area and break each one down via the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) acronym to help.

Knowledge gap – Think about what areas of internal communication you feel you might be lacking in such as strategic planning, channel management, copywriting or stakeholder engagement. This will really help you focus on your priority areas.

Resources – Rather than trying to guess what resources will be helpful give yourself some space to note down any useful information you might come across and why. These could be social media accounts to follow, books to read or podcasts to listen to. I find it easier to group them under headings that match my goals so I have a bit of structure and can then choose which resources I pick up at the right time.

Activity log – Once you start using your resources keep a simple log of when you read/listen and note down a couple of lines of what you took away. It could even be that it wasn’t relevant for you in your current role and that’s fine, we all come across things that we thought would be helpful but weren’t in the end.

Join the online IC community

The IC community are a friendly bunch so don’t be scared of getting involved in the digital space. LinkedIn groups such as the CIPR inside or IOIC FutureNet committees are a great way to ask questions or find useful recommendations for other resources.

Even if you aren’t active on social media you can simply search for popular hashtags to see what fellow internal comms peers are talking about. Start off by searching #internalcomms #internalcommunications or more specific subjects such as #intranets. You’ll soon discover a vast amount of information and people willing to share their advice and recommendations. Even just take a screengrab if you come across so you don’t forget.

And my final top tip, set up your internet browser bookmarks so you can save any blog posts or articles you come across that might be useful. It sounds simple but we often forget about the basic tools at our disposal and this means no matter whether your viewing on a mobile or laptop you can quickly save useful articles.

Both the CIPR and IOIC provide a range of resources, some accessible to non-members designed to support CPD. This IOIC webinar from 2017 I’ve found very useful and there is plenty of information you can use even if you don’t have access to their CPD portal.

If you aren’t sure about how to get your CPD planning started please feel free to message or if you have some tips that would help ICnewbies out please feel free to message or share via social media. It would be great to hear about your experiences of CPD development that could be shared with other ICnewbies to help their development.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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