#RTPRIMETIME – Communication in 2021 and Beyond

COVID-19 has already changed our world. The post-lockdown scenario has made a digitally dominant world, this has impacted our attitude, behaviour, and brand personalities. How will it affect communications beyond 2021?

Reputation Today in partnership with Fuzion PR organised the fourth edition of Regional PrimeTime on Wednesday, 4th November 2020. The focus of the panel discussion was ‘Communication in 2021 and Beyond’ what future holds for the Communication business, specifically in regional India. The session began with an introduction of the panellists who included Dr Anubhuti Yadav PhD– Head of the department, Course director for Advertisement and PR at IIMC Delhi, Deepshikha Dharmaraj– CEO at Genesis BCW, Dr Samir Parikh– Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Health Care. Sujit Patil– Vice President, Head of Corporate Brand and Communications at Godrej Industries and moderating the panel was Mukesh Kharbanda, Founder and Managing Director at Fuzion PR.

The crisis has unbolted new opportunities and possibilities

This is a situation of testing times, but it has opened a new plethora of ways to look at communications and PR. We have learned how to be more empathetic, crispier, and more authentic with messaging in communications. Going forward it is going to be a great time for both PR and communications business and more positive, said Sujit Patil while answering the question how the changing scenario is going to be impacted on the communications community?

We all believe that worst is now behind us, what has held through us is sheer resilience and agility. We are all moving towards digital transformation across different forms and this pandemic has forced us to accelerate this transformation very straightforwardly. Going forward there is a lot of positivity and extraordinarily strong future possibilities, said Deepshikha Dharmaraj.  “2021 is going to be a year of building back and growth of new possibilities” she quoted.

Transformation in the education curriculum and planning

“one of the biggest learnings from this pandemic is that we need to repackage our educational curriculum and planning” stated Dr Anubhuti Yadav. The pandemic will have a big impact on curriculum development and planning in the future. Nowadays digital skill sets are a must for any jobs, and it is going to be critical. But at the same time organisations should also mention what specific skill set is expected out of students.

“The concept of unpaid internships is worrying me as an educator because some really bright students work as an intern” she further added.

Pandemic and behavioural changes

The Pandemic has brought in the mental health component more out in the spotlight. The primary reason is that everybody has been impacted by this. It is evident from our behavioural changes -working from home, social engagements, emotional self, and wellbeing expressed by Dr Samir Parikh. We need to first look at the basic level of intervention- prevention for mental health. People must first focus on skills and prevention then early identification and support system, finally the expert level. “Pandemic or no pandemic, currently 300 million people globally suffer from depression.” He quoted.

The loss of human connection was a big blow to all of us. We as communicators have a huge responsibility of bringing conversations around mental health out in the open and address the issues of our employees. Showing empathy and listening to your employees is crucial these times, said Deepshikha Dharmaraj.

Sujith Patil shared that the level of communications has gone up internally. Enabling to express yourself and being there for each other is fundamental in this crisis. As leaders, it should be your priority to be in touch with your teammates and be there for them by building a certain level of trust, comfort, and conversations around wellbeing. He also shared four key traits of future communication professionals including authenticity, empathy, collaboration and interdependency and right attitude.

Creativity and digital capabilities will be the new mandatory skills required to be successful professionals in the business, asserted Deepshikha.

Dr Samir Parikh also shared his views on media literacy and negative effects of the digital world on young minds. “We need to begin teaching media literacy and mental health as a curriculum and make sure that the young minds are not negatively impacted, we need to make them resilient” he further quoted.

Key takeaways – One human element which will mould us to be a good professional?

Empathy, Connectivity and Altruism – Dr Samir Parikh

Emotional Intelligence and Adaptability – Dr Anubhuti Yadav

Empathy, Empathy and Empathy – Deepshikha Dharmaraj

Right Attitude – Sujit Patil.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Vani Krishna
She is a part of the Class of 2021 of PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications at SCoRe, Mumbai. She pursued her bachelor’s degree from St. Aloysius College (Autonomous) Mangalore, affiliated to Mangalore University in Journalism, English Major and Computer Animation in 2019.
As an aspiring PR Professional, she regards the PR profession as a social function as it should be a concerning social responsibility to channelize a brand’s empathy and action for the public goodness. She did her internship training with a Kerala based PR firm- Davidson PR & Communications in Cochin. She also worked as a graduate trainee in the Department of Information and Public Relations (I &PRD) – Kerala State, Trivandrum. She is passionate about Sports and Arts.

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