Dan Slee has compiled a list of 52 skills your communication team need to know and it’s rather accurate.


  • Know your organisation’s priorities. Its priorities are the comms team’s priorities.
  • Know how your team reports and contribute to that.
  • Know how to evaluate.
  • Be a specialist-generalist. Know the basic skills and have some areas you specialise in. You can’t know it all.
  • Know what skills other specialist generalists have. Know their strengths and weaknesses and how they compensate your own abilities.
  • Be a gate opener not a gatekeeper and know that frontline people can communicate with the right support.
  • To know what an income target is and to either plan for them or offer evaluated comms savings.
  • Know how to flag-up an issue of concern.
  • Know you need to keep learning.
  • Know your team’s communications strategy and plan.
  • Know all the channels and what your audience is.
  • Know when to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Know how to manage a team.
  • Know how to be the head of communication

Basic core skills

  • Know it’s okay not to be okay.
  • Know how to speak human.
  • Know when to educate the client.
  • Know how to be a diplomat, be small ‘p’ and big ‘P’ politically aware
  • Know when and how to speak truth to power politely.
  • Know how to listen to the public.
  • Know basic media law.
  • Know the value of internal comms.
  • Know how to write a comms plan.
  • Know how to interpret data.
  • Know how to respond as an organisation in an emergency.
  • Know how to look for the influencers who can influence networks.
  • Know how to be able to communicate to the head and the heart.
  • Know how to manage time.
  • Know GDPR.

In creating content

  • Know how to be a storyteller indifferent formats.
  • Know the right content at the right time in the right place.

In person

  • Know how to be professional, warm and engaging.
  • Know how to present.

In text

  • Know the jargon but communicate in plain English.
  • Know how to write effective emails.
  • Know how to write effective email campaigns.
  • Know how to write a press release.
  • Know how to be able to write for the web.
  • Know how to create and run a survey.

In media relations

  • Know what the key titles are, their circulation, readership and the demographic that consumes them.
  • Know how to take, log and investigate a media query.
  • Know the difference between ‘on the record’ and ‘off the record’ and be very, very careful with both.
  • Know how to make a complaint about media coverage.

In images

  • Know where to find copyright free images.
  • Know GDPR and how to record the permission of those who are photographed, update and maintain a model consent database.
  • Know how to take and edit images with a phone or DSLR
  • Know how to commission and work with a photographer
  • Know how to select information and create an infographic.
  • Know what branding is and why it is.
  • Know the optimum lengths of video per channel.
  • Know how to edit, shoot with a smartphone and add text and music to a video.
  • Know how to plan and commission and external video.

In print

  • Know when a leaflet is the best solution and work with designers.
  • Know when a newsletter or magazine is the best solution and how to liaise with designers.
  • To know what data to look for and what data to count.
  • To know what open data is.

In social media

  • Know the social media channels, how your audiences use them and how to create content for them.
  • Know and know how to deliver your organisation’s social media policy.
  • Know when to get involved online and when not to.
  • Know that social media isn’t all about evaluated calls to action.
  • Know the Pareto Principle of 80-20 human v call to action content.
  • Know that Facebook as a broad landscape rather than just your page.
  • Know how and when to make friends with a Facebook group and page admin.
  • Know how to join Facebook groups and pages as yourself.
  • Know how customer services work with social media.
  • Know how to respond to using social media in an emergency.
  • Know new and emerging platforms and be able to experiment with them.
  • Know how to create and schedule content at the right time.
David Hodder - Website Management Banner