So today I’m a bit off topic, but I wanted to share a thought I had. If you haven’t heard, Apple released a new product the other day, the Apple Watch. While it looks cool, I think I will stick with my phone for now. What got me thinking was listening to presentation excerpts that were posted online during Apple’s launch. I got to thinking of these big social media and tech companies that are dominating the economy these days. These companies like: Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft just to name a few, provide goods and services that allow people to communicate easier, faster, and in more exciting ways than before. What are these companies selling? Communication! So wouldn’t it make perfect sense then to have a resident SLP in each of these communication changing companies?
What would they do?
What would these SLPs do you ask? Heck, what couldn’t we do. Being as SLP means we are diverse and flexible, we think outside of the box for living. Most of the work a ‘Corporate SLP’ ( for lack of a better, official title ) , would probably be in the area of pragmatics, aka social language/communication in the work place.
You may be thinking, they have PR ( public relations ) or HR ( human resources ) people who do this. Yup, you’re right. Those who work in PR are great at maintaining that positive public view and handling issues that may arise, but that also means that they typically handle things on the big, global scale, not the intrapersonal ones. Those in HR deal more with ethical, legal issues like sexual harassment and hiring or firing. SLPs could be utilized within a company to help teach/refine pragmatic skills within the work place. Don’t things just run better when everyone communicates more efficently? I think so! Who better to help this than the SLP? They could help teams or individuals work on problem solving or perspective taking on the job. A little bit of Social Thinking can go a long way. Groups and teams can function well on their own ( sometimes ), but when they need to work with other groups/teams sometimes problems can come out. If everyone has a solid pragmatic foundation and is using the same ‘pragmatic tools’, it may help to allow things to run smoother or help to create the type of envirionments where new ideas can be formed.
What about those hard working people in the company who have great ideas but can’t move up because some type of communication difficulty? Maybe they stutter, or have some articulation issues? These may have not been big issues when they were in elementary school or even college, but in the corporate world, it can be what holds them back. Having an SLP on staff who can help provide services to these adults would be vital to their employees but also the success of the company. What if the man, or woman, with the next million dollar idea is too afraid to speak up and present it because of how they sound? Also, by being able to provide these services at work it and by having them be covered by the company ( maybe ), it may also encourage them to seek out the support they need, or want, while avoiding embarrassment from family or friends. They may be avoiding speech therapy as an adult because of the stigma it may hold to them, kind of like having braces as an adult. People may feel that it is just for kids, so they may shy away from something they need. They may also not want to have to explain to friends and colleges why they can’t meet up after work because they have to go to speech therapy.
Some companies offer daycare now. How about some speech and language services to go with that? Many big companies are now offering daycare options so parents can bring their children to work with them, saving on costly daycare options and minimizing the stress of attempting to figure out pick up and drop off schedules. Well, statistically speaking, some of those adorable little ones will probably need some type of speech or language support. Why not have an in house SLP to provide services for those children or language enrichment for all kids?
Hey toy companies! How about having an SLP on staff to help develop toys that inspire and encourage language? As SLPs we are constantly adapting toys and games to fit speech needs and target goals. Yes, there are ‘speech therapy’ games from big companies like Super Duper, but most parents aren’t going to shop there for a game for their child. Getting input from an SLP can broaden the reach and appeal of games and toys to the masses.
These are just a few the points I was mulling over. Like I said, these are just ideas. No way to tell if these are just some daydreams of mine, or if there would be practical application in the corporate setting. So, if any of you big company people who spend their free moments reading speech blogs ( there have to be some, right?) why not step up your game and show all those other companies how progressive you can be!