This is a breakdown of how I spent my time on a recent project developing an impact report

How a communication consultant actually spends their time

From time to time, people ask me how I actually spend my time. It’s a fair question: every comms consultant I’ve met has their own unique focus.

I specialise in health and social change. But also, I lean heavily on anthropology. So, as you might expect, my focus is very much on people.

That’s true at both ends of the conversation. At one end are those working in health and social change, such as senior leaders, clinicians, policymakers and strategy leads. (Let’s call them group A). At the other are the people they want to reach: their audience. That might be patients, the public or staff. (Let’s call them group B.)

I help people in group A articulate their ideas in a way that will resonate with group B. Doing that means talking to people in group A and group B… and then finding ways to bridge the gap.

Here’s one I made earlier

But what does that look like on paper? Well, this image shows a breakdown of how I spent my time on a recent project, developing an impact report for an NHS trust. It’s a snapshot from the app I use to track my time. The ‘planning’ section includes helping the client develop the brief and collaborating with the designer.

This little pie chart probably gives a better idea of what I do for a living than anything else I can think of. But there’s plenty else I get up to, too. For example, my pie chart for another project includes scriptwriting and film production.

My working days are really, really varied – but there’s a common thread running through it all: helping people articulate their ideas clearly and effectively. When it comes to developing the content, I’m a bit of a polymath. But however you choose to apply them, the core principles – including the messaging and the values that sit beneath them – are universal.

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