The skills cocktail

There is consensus on the skills require of communicators; the challenge is to personalise the right mix of qualities

Government regulations in several countries ensure that advertising is translated into the local language

What skills and qualities does today’s communications leader need? The answer might seem straightforward: as a headhunter, 80 per cent of the job descriptions I see essentially contain a list of the same attributes. But core skills are only part of the story. Yvan Deurbroeck, the Swiss-based vice president of international communications at medical technology company Medtronic, puts it this way: “Communications is a special kind of job. One can learn the technical skills, the latest best practice, and study the subject academically at university; but the psychology of it - the ability to listen, persuade and influence - is in your personality”.

Ben Atfield

Ben Atfield is director and co-founder of Ellwood and Atfield. E&A is the largest dedicated communications search and selection consultancy in Europe with offices in London and Brussels. Atfield recently wrote and published the first Brussels-focused remuneration report examining in detail the salaries of communications and public affairs experts in the policy capital of Europe.