Brent Simon graduated with a Master of Business Communication from the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven and works as a communications expert for City Services in a Belgian city. He is responsible for the social media channels of the city including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This involves making creative content like putting residents in the spotlight; doing interactive posts; videos; publishing photos from events; and promoting vacancies. In addition, he writes articles for the city’s monthly magazine; maintains the city's website; and prepares press releases. He also assists his colleagues in the Departments of Tourism & Urban Entertainment; Sports; and Culture in communications matters. Brent’s colleagues can contact him with any communications related questions they may have, and he regularly offers training on topics related to communications.
Brent's education prepared him to be an excellent communicator
The ASSET-H study found that humanities graduates possess excellent communications skills. As a communications expert it is no surprise that Brent uses his communicative skills daily at work. He finds that especially his ability to communicate a message in an appealing way and select the appropriate channel through which to communicate a message are crucial in his job.
“I communicate daily through different channels, and it is important to adapt the message to the channel. A certain message cannot always be conveyed in the same way in different channels. In a news item for the website, I can write an extensive text, while presenting the same message in an attractive and shortened way on social media. On LinkedIn I use a more professional tone, while on Facebook it can be less formal and a bit ‘looser’. Each channel requires a different style to get the message across correctly” Brent remarks.
Working for local government means playing an exemplary role
Brent highlights the importance of language skills and having above-average skills in at least one language. To be able to write creatively for different communication channels like the website, social media accounts and citizen magazine means that Brent needs to be proficient in the Dutch language. Together with his colleagues from the communication department, he writes many texts every month. Because they provide a service to local government, Brent’s team plays an exemplary role, and it is therefore important that they write error-free text. They always read each other's texts for the city’s magazine and indicate points for improvement where necessary. This is how they learn from each other every day.
Serving citizens in times of crisis
Lastly, as a communication expert, it is a crucial skill to efficiently distil the essence of information. The communication department receives a lot of information from various city services every day. It is their job to filter out the essential information and to communicate it correctly and informatively to citizens. It is their job to make a distinction between which information is necessary to pass on to citizens and which information is not. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, together with his colleagues Brent processed a lot of crisis communication. They had to make news reports as clear and concise as possible in a short period of time from long-winded, extensive Ministerial Decrees. The residents of the city only benefit from the information that is relevant to them. Therefore, they need to limit their communication to the essentials. This requires empathy skills as you need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the message recipient to know which information is relevant to them.