12 communication skills that will advance your career

Communication is the fire that fuels the workplace engine. It is difficult to overstate just how important communication can be to a successful organization.

Case-in-point: A recent survey of 400 companies conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that, on average, each company lost $62.4 million per year due to inadequate communication.

“In an era when Artificial Intelligence and other digital technologies are changing the way organizations operate, communication skills will become even more vital to strengthening relationships and promoting collaboration and adaptability,” says Carl Zangerl, faculty director for the communication and human resource management programs within Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies.

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How to develop an internal communication strategy

Companies in the U.S. spent nearly $200 billion on marketing in 2019, putting immense resources towards developing strategies to communicate with potential customers and crafting and distributing the perfect messages. Few spend the same resources on considering how to best communicate with their employees—and it’s costing them.

About 70 percent of employees in the U.S. feel disengaged at work, and fewer than 30 percent believe in the brand that employs them, according to Gallup. This leads people to quit and seek out more fulfilling work, and Glassdoor reports that companies spend an average of $4,000 on recruiting, hiring, and onboarding each replacement. By helping employees feel more connected to their companies through thoughtful internal communication, organizations can create an open, collaborative culture that drives both retention and productivity.

Dr. Ed Powers

“It’s about building relationships and understanding not only what the organization is trying to accomplish, but also what will motivate employees,” says Ed Powers, a professor of practice who oversees the Public and Media Relations concentration within the Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication at Northeastern University.

Here’s why an internal communications strategy is vital for any workplace and how you can create one that addresses your company’s goals.

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Lifelong learning — on demand!

Want to refresh your knowledge about key communication concepts, or sample some lectures and readings in a new subject area? The Office of Alumni Relations, in partnership with Northeastern University’s Graduate Programs, makes it easy. Just click here to access an archive of on-demand programs.

Here are just a few examples of what’s available.

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Our Virtual PR Firm takes experiential learning to a new level

In this Q&A, Dr. Ed Powers, Professor of Practice and PR pro, discusses the launch of a new model for learning about PR research, strategy, and tactics: the Virtual PR Firm.

Q: What’s it all about?

Dr. Ed Powers

A: It’s the next level in experiential learning for our students. Our virtual firm looks and feels just like a small public relations agency. Through it we are integrating our public relations coursework with six-month projects covering six months for real-life clients. And the students will perform the client work using a leading marketing software tool. The purpose is to have students ready for PR jobs that are in demand in the marketplace.
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How to improve cross-cultural communication in the workplace

It’s no secret that effective communication is central to the success of any organization, regardless of industry. But in order to truly understand what it takes to communicate effectively, you must first understand the different cultural factors that influence the way people interact with one another.

Our world is more interconnected than ever before, a fact that has given rise to many changes in the ways that businesses and organizations operate. Workplaces are more diverse, remote teams are scattered across the country or around the world, and businesses that once sold products to a single demographic might now sell to a global market. All of these factors have converged to make cross-cultural communication a vital part of organizational success.

Here’s a look at why cross-cultural communication is important in the workplace, and the steps you can take to overcome cultural barriers and improve communication within your organization.

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2018-19 ePortfolio honorees recognized at 1st Annual Showcase

The 1st Annual ePortfolio Showcase was held on Monday, October 28th at The Cabral Center on campus. The event, attended by more than 50 students, alumni, and faculty, recognized the top 4 ePortfolio ‘authors’ for 2018-19: Josh Gelinas, Jessica Kline, Jingyi Lyu, Liz McCarthy.

Dr. Ed Powers

Dr. Ed Powers kicked off the ceremony, providing an overview of the ePortfolio program and how it has evolved as a central feature of the Corporate and Organizational Communication master’s program at Northeastern. The honorees were selected by a panel of members of our Alumni Advisory Council.

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How to leverage your ePortfolio after graduation

When I first heard I would have to complete an ePortfolio as part of my program at Northeastern, I wasn’t sure if it would be valuable to me. It instead felt like any effort I put into it would be duplicative of the effort I was putting into my LinkedIn profile and resume. I was working full-time while trying to balance school and other priorities, so it was hard for me to even figure out when I’d have time for this.

I also felt like the ePortfolio would only be valuable for someone looking for a job – something I had no plans of doing because I was already comfortably employed. Well, now being on the other side of my degree, I am so happy I had and still have this ePortfolio.

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Collaborative leadership: What it is and why it’s important

As the professional world continues to develop and change, the way executives within organizations manage their teams has needed to evolve with it.

In the past, leaders often worked in silos, handling only the tasks that fell directly under their domain. Today, however, managers are leaning on collaborative leadership methods as a means of embracing innovation and meeting their organization’s unique goals.

Read on to learn what collaborative leadership means, what trends are making it so essential, and how you can embrace this method in your workplace today.

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What does it take to be a Chief Communication Officer? The sequel.

A couple of years ago, we posted the results of research that showed how the role of the Chief Communication Officer (CCO) has evolved during our era of digital disruption. While not many of us will work our way to the CCO level, we know that these rising expectations will ripple down to communicators at all levels.

That’s why a recent survey of more than 200 communication leaders conducted by Page, a global professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives and educators, is of such importance.

The survey results, titled The CCO as Pacesetter | What It Means, Why It Matters, How to Get There, identifies four areas of emphasis: brand stewardship, organizational culture, societal value creation, and digital capabilities. Take a look at the summaries of these four areas.

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Faculty Spotlight: Ed Powers

Ed Powers, Professor of the Practice for the MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program, is an experienced corporate communications executive with a strong base in adult learning and curriculum development.

Ed PowersHe began teaching at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies on a part-time basis in 2008 and joined as a full-time faculty member in 2017. During his time at Northeastern, he has taught courses in 10 topic areas and was the architect for the Public and Media Relations concentration.

During his thirty-year career in the industry, Ed gained experience in nearly every facet of corporate communications, working for companies in half-a-dozen industries and serving as the chief communications officer for several billion-dollar organizations.

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