What communicators can learn from the armed forces

Armed Forces Day was observed May 18, but if you missed it, you can still honor the troops, past and present, by faithfully following their best examples.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

That memorable moment was the beginning of my dad’s 21-year career of proudly serving in the U.S. armed forces. Our military extensively trains people to be their best. As the daughter of a retired military member, I’ve picked up a few lessons along the way.

In honor of Armed Forces Day (May 18), I’d like to share some with you. They circle back to three things: discipline, focus, and excellence.

As a communicator, I have no illusions that my job in any way compares to the duties of our military men and women. Having said that…

Stay focused. The focus required in fixing a helicopter before it heads into a war zone trumps the focus it takes to draft a document without any AP style errors. The accuracy of your work as a communicator might not result in death, but I will argue its importance. When you pitch a press release, answer a media inquiry or design a website, the credibility of your employer is at stake, and so, therefore, are other people’s jobs. If you work in internal communications, the words you craft can create a better work environment. Always keep the bigger picture in view.

No matter what your assignment, take pride in it.
In this challenging economy, communication jobs are hard to come by. College graduates from prestigious journalism schools or veteran communicators who’ve faced a layoff might find themselves performing administrative work to get their foot in the door. Always strive for excellence. When you finish a day’s work, make sure it’s something you can be proud of.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.