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Why this matters:

For an organization to fully reach their audience, their events need to tie back firmly into community priorities and desires. That’s where community relations managers shine; the events themselves give them a chance to promote their organizations, elevating their organization’s name and appealing to potential new members. If done successfully, this can lead to growth and further organizational development.

What to listen for:

  • Demonstrated experience in developing a strategy to represent the organization internally and externally in a positive manner
  • Ability to plan for special events to network with stakeholders
  • Strong communication skills that contribute to efficient event planning

Why this matters:

Forging local relations — and using these to boost your organization’s image — is a significant portion of a community relations manager’s responsibility. The candidate must understand best practices and use them to build the kind of trust and presence that enables outside stakeholders to be open and receptive to the organization’s mission, approach, or offerings.

What to listen for:

  • An ability to craft strong, positive narratives for their organization
  • A willingness to establish long-term professional relationships with community members
  • A strong understanding of effective public relations strategies

Why this matters:

A community relations manager should have digital fluency to foster a meaningful online presence through social media. There is a great opportunity for growth and outreach, but they must first know what resources to use, how to present the organization effectively, and how to engage strategically with their target audience.

What to listen for:

  • Previous experience growing a social media presence for an organization
  • Quantifiable results that demonstrate strong digital growth
  • A clear understanding of how to garner and maintain a positive public image

Why this matters:

In the course of their work, community relations managers often learn of sensitive or confidential information that relates directly to members of the community. Ideally, you want a candidate who is capable of handling this information with the proper empathy, delicacy, and discretion.

What to listen for:

  • Experienced diplomacy
  • Good judgment about what information might be sensitive and off-limits
  • Discretion and empathy around sensitive topics

Why this matters:

When exploring topics of interest to each community, community members are bound to disagree over some things. A strong community relations manager can moderate conflict, turning it to an advantage, which may include learning opportunities, productive discussions, mutual respect, warm reconciliation, and even hard-won agreement.

What to listen for:

  • Caring impartiality
  • An ability to remain calm in situations of personal conflict, even when emotionally charged
  • The ability to foster productive dialogue, find common ground, and broker agreement

Why this matters:

An organization’s growth largely depends on how many stakeholders it can reach and retain. But it’s typically not possible to speak with every member of the community. That’s why a good community relations manager must be strategic about the people they keep close, seeking out particularly influential community members and cultivating their interest and support.

What to listen for:

  • Effective persuasion and fluent people skills
  • Previous experience in building trust with key stakeholders
  • Comfort in dealing with highly influential personalities

Why this matters:

Community relations managers will have multiple projects to oversee and complete successfully. From executing outreach campaigns to scheduling meetings with important stakeholders, they must be able to juggle different priorities while meeting tight deadlines. To ensure a smooth workflow, community relations managers should have systems and tools in place that allow them to complete their work successfully.

What to listen for:

  • Proven experience using different types of project management tools
  • Clear explanation of a work methodology that improves overall productivity
  • An ability to prioritize various tasks according to deadlines and level of importance

Why this matters:

Community relations managers are responsible for helping campaigns come to life, from the beginning stages of concrete planning to the final touches of a launch date. Instead of safely sticking with a one-size-fits-all solution for every project, it may be beneficial that they are confident enough to take creative risks and try new approaches.

What to listen for:

  • An ability to create a clear timeline of the campaign from start to finish
  • An ability to think outside the box and contribute meaningful changes to an organization’s brand
  • A willingness to experiment with new methods that can help make a campaign memorable

Why this matters:

While establishing positive relationships with the community is always helpful for the organization’s public image, cross-functional relationships within internal teams can help drive your mission forward. The ability to partner with people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets will help the community relations manager identify solutions and contribute to a better work culture.

What to listen for:

  • An ability to collaborate with other employees from different departments
  • A recognition of the importance of cross-functional teams working to accomplish a common goal
  • An explanation of how cross-functional teams help to improve workflow and maximize project management
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