Five years and six months after she first joined us in the #CommsCorner, we catch up with Amisha Mehta, an Associate Professor at QUT Business School, and get another insight into a professional communicator’s life.
Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?
I’m an educator and researcher in risk and crisis communication at the QUT Business School who likes to bring the future into present experiences for students and research participants as a means to encourage change.
Tell us about your typical day in communications?
Every day is different but usually involves a mix of teaching preparation or delivery, research design/analysis or reading recent publications, client and/or student meetings, and lots of coffee.
When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?
I knew I wanted to be a lecturer when I saw a student’s face light up as she landed on an idea for a public relations campaign. There is so much power in an idea and it’s a privilege to share that space.
Who’s your communication hero/mentor?
My communication hero, mentor and, gratefully, collaborator is Associate Professor Brooke Fisher Liu. Brooke is one of the top, industry-engaged researchers in risk and crisis communication, based at the University of Maryland. I admire the way she approaches work and life.
Which tools can’t you live without?
My mobile to keep me connected and my children to keep me on my toes.
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
The single question that challenges me as an educator is also the greatest force for creativity: How can I create learning experiences that build student capacity for future environments where work is unknown?
Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?
I don’t often get to work on campaigns but I have the opportunity to design, analyse and make recommendations from research that has been used to prototype new products and services.
Which campaign do you most admire?
Every year, I read through the Golden Target Award-winning campaigns and one that stands the test of time is the Target 140 campaign, which was designed to reduce South-East Queensland households’ water usage during the drought in 2007. It cleverly integrated behavioural change models with communication to drive business and social outcomes. The other campaign I admire is the second version of ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’. This campaign uses clever messages to encourage smart decision-making during flood events.
What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
Along with all things digital, we’re seeing value for interdisciplinary work and evidence-based decision-making.
If you had to cut/keep something in your communication budget, what would it be?
Always keep or make space for research that guides strategy and not just confirms the problem.
What quality do you look for in your communication team members?
I like working with people who are creative and take the initiative to solve problems or find opportunities.
What’s your favourite brand?
Qantas and Canturi—both create and sustain connections.
What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?
I like to read blogs from other disciplines/fields and one of my favourites is the Crew blog. It cleverly mixes design principles with work and creativity and I always take something away from it.
What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications?
Numbers matter and go hand-in-hand with words to create meaning—data analysis and accounting are your friends. Do not avoid them.
Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’
…a way to conquer uncertainty and unlock transformative thinking.