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2018: Opportunities and challenges

With 2018 just around the corner it is the time of year when people start to make predictions for the year ahead. One thing clear to me is that it will be another year of challenges as well as hopefully some opportunities.

There is a huge amount of uncertainty in modern life from Brexit through to tense international relations. People have a distrust of those in authority and what is seen as the establishment. The key for communicators will be to find and maintain an authentic voice in the 12 months ahead. This means ensuring honesty as well as personality in the work.

There are huge opportunities for communicators and those in PR at times of uncertainty and change. We have a chance to demonstrate how the profession can help, can provide some clarity and support people with information and conversation.  This is only possible if we continue to demonstrate the highest ethical standards are being upheld throughout the profession. And that is an issue for us all.

I expect there will be further developments in technology during 2018 with virtual reality and artificial intelligence increasingly being discussed. For some this will bring improvements and for others it will be a distraction. The key is to be able to recognise which it is and act accordingly.

But I hope that 2018 is the year that we start to open up and talk about the important issue of resilience and wellbeing at work. Communicators face a tough time, are attached to work 24 hours a day, and face some of the most challenging situations but are usually the last to say that they need help. This is more than any concern about a work – life balance but more about accepting the circumstances and finding ways to cope. In the past 12 months we have seen more willingness to discuss the issues now we need to build on it.

The communication profession itself came under the spotlight in 2017 and with this focus comes the chance to demonstrate what is good from what we do.