SCMP certification—all about leadership

A guest post by Christopher Jossart, SCMP

Just prior to my Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) certification journey, I received an email from a young PR colleague of mine. He happens to share the same medium-sized traditional media market as my organization does.

In the email, he ranted in frustration over lack of coverage for a workplace initiative his company had launched a short time ago. He was indirectly seeking my advice on how to build visibility through traditional media for his organization’s latest big thing. Rather than drowning ourselves in email dissertations, I called to offer him insight.

Our conversation allowed me to learn more about his project and strategies for generating news coverage. Although we work in different industries, my associate was privy to some recent media success at a college where I manage its PR. In retrospect, I believe he wanted to learn or “borrow” a magical subject line for an email or a catchy headline for social media.

“I picked up the phone,” I told him. ‘What a letdown for him,’ I thought. No creative wording went his way.

What followed was pin drop silence. Again, he was expecting a “secret” tool. We all know social media, email marketing and digital communication play a role in our successes today as business communicators. In this case, however, it was a phone call to editors and broadcast producers that got the ball rolling for spectacular coverage. A couple of them said I was the only phone call their newsroom received for story ideas all morning against hundreds of emails—most all seeking the same result—coverage.

That occurrence was as big of a learning lesson for me as it was my younger colleague. Enter the Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC). I decided to pursue my certification as a SCMP, in part, from this collegial exchange.

The interaction with an associate served as a reminder that business communicators innately lead in lots of ways. My SCMP experience provided an elevated platform to further develop leadership skills. Our role extends beyond a daily grind of leading organizational communication. We touch communities.

Now, more than ever due to a societal dilution of interpersonal communication and relationship-building, strategic communicators are needed to serve as examples of lifelong learning. Communication is not a lost art; it calls for stewards who put interpersonal relationships before impersonal screen chatter.

The SCMP journey was a game changer, and it can bring the same value to you as well. I prepared for the exam by way of the following:

  • Although I was studying for the SCMP certification exam, the CMP practice test was particularly helpful to understand not so much what will be on the test but rather concepts of our work. Although the practice test is geared toward CMP prep, it still helped with SCMP prep tremendously. First, it gave me a sense of how the questions would be presented—mostly narrative-based and focused on scenarios. Second, I got a sense that the exam would be concept-based on a few key themes per the Candidate Handbook (like ethics, for instance).
  • For example, an emphasis on ethics created an opportunity to revisit ethical practices in business communications. I then researched a couple of recent resources on ethics and immersed in a high-level review of key objectives.
  • Study the IABC Code of Ethics.
  • Research important focal points in our arena right now, like crisis communication planning, for instance.
  • The Candidate Handbook helps lay a foundation for a holistic understanding of communicative applications.
  • Ask for help if you have any questions. The good folks behind your journey represent a satellite support system and are always accessible.
  • Remember, your accepted application into SCMP (or CMP) is momentous! You are halfway home because of your unique professional experience.

I now look forward to getting more involved with organizations representing related interests in communication. Together we will share best practices while growing a network of relationship builders.

You, too, can earn SCMP certification. We need your leadership!