Emanuel Schmid, Junior Consultant, und Clara Vuille-dit-Bille, Junior Consultant
From Silicon Valley back to the Rhine: We asked Michael Felber three questions to find out more about his path to becoming a partner at int/ext Communications. The Basel native has been a partner at the PR agency for six years and likes the challenges at the interface between entrepreneurship and communications.
How did you come to become a partner and shareholder at int/ext Communications?
The desire to be entrepreneurial matured during my time in Silicon Valley, when I had a lot to do with tech startups. When I returned to Switzerland and joined int/ext, the opportunity to become a partner was an important factor. The philosophy of the agency is that the team members stay with us for a long time and can develop in different areas. For me, being a co-partner in a consulting company means combining two of my professional passions: On the one hand, I'm interested in the path of a company - whether it's my own or someone else's. On the other hand, I am fascinated by languages and codes as well as communicative dynamics in and around organizations. Trying to decipher these connections and working with them to achieve goals - that's what motivates me.
"Being able to be open-minded, to empathize with other settings, jargons and communication processes - I consider this empathy and mental agility an important skill for a consultant."
To what extent did your work experience in different industries as well as abroad make you fit to become a partner at int/ext?
These experiences certainly challenged and sharpened my willingness to be curious and learn to love the cold water. To be open-minded, to empathize with other settings, jargons and communication processes - I consider this empathy and mental agility to be an important skill for a consultant. And although I've worked in a variety of industries, it's always been roles where communication has been at the core: from sales to marketing to PR. At int/ext, we place great value on this hands-on experience on the side of our clients.
You conduct media training in various companies. How important is virtual training for you? To what extent do decision-makers at a company increasingly need to develop their presence in the digital space in a targeted way?
The situation in which a media appearance or an important address does not take place under conventional studio conditions is something we already know very well from crisis communication - an area in which we support many clients very intensively. We regularly practice this with a wide variety of leaders. We are now seeing a general shift away from live to remote appearances, and I expect that media appearances, keynotes or town halls will increasingly take place via digital platforms such as Zoom in the future. At the beginning of the Corona crisis, when everyone had to change over - whether they were ready or not - the media and other stakeholders might have been generous if it came across as a bit improvised. Now, expectations are much higher. We think that virtual media and speaker training is a worthwhile investment and an interesting alternative in view of the changed environment.