By Tessa O’Neill
On January 31, 2013, the UK chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) hosted the inaugural “Gift of Communication” event at Shoreditch House, in the heart of London’s creative district. More than 50 communications professionals and representatives from charities attended the skill-sharing session.
Experienced IABC UK members presented a variety of sessions that covered communication planning, audience research, ethics, media relations, employee engagement, and brand management. Say Media’s Solutions Director, Carla Faria, presented the opening session which focused on the art of storytelling and the importance of having a strong point-of-view in order to connect and build relationships with audiences, a challenge which is increasingly important in a cluttered digital world.
After this crash course in compelling storytelling, delegates split into five smaller groups that took part in a rotation of presentation/discussion sessions with an assembled panel of IABC UK members and colleagues.
Marc Wright, publisher of simply-communicate.com, presented the closing plenary session to explain how platforms like Yammer, Chatter, Jive, NewsGator and SharePoint have revolutionised company intranets in the same way that Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube have transformed the web. Using case study examples, he demonstrated how large organisations can use social media to build employee engagement, improve corporate agility and accelerate collaboration.
Feedback from the attendees was excellent, and Wedge Black of Kilobox even took the time to write a blog post about the Gift of Communication: “My thanks to the IABC UK and the speakers, many of whom are IABC leaders and experienced communicators. Thanks to everyone who took the time to speak with me; you are my heroes.”
The following communications experts volunteered their time to present during the Gift of Communication:
Carla Faria, Solutions Director, Say Media
Marc Wright, Publisher, simple-communicate.com
Mike Pounsford, Managing Director, Couravel and The Big Conversation Company
Michael Nord, Senior Consultant, The Fifth Business
Mark St Andrew, Consultant, KLPR
Daniel Schraibman, Head of Communications, South Hook Gas
Jane Mitchell, Director, JL&M Ltd.
Ezri Carlebach, Deputy Director of Communication and External Affairs, University of the Arts London
Michael Ambjorn, Head of Fellowship, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (The RSA)
Susan Walker, Head, AES Communication Research
The Gift of Communication proved insightful for both junior and established communication professionals with roundtable discussions highlighting social media and changing demographics as some of the emerging challenges that all communicators must face.
The IABC UK is hugely grateful to the speakers and organisers, all of whom donated their time for free, and for the support of the sponsors (Coca-Cola Enterprises and simply-communicate.com) and partners (Really Responsible, Give What You’re Good At, and NABS) in making this inaugural event such a resounding success.
“Thank you to all our members who gave the Gift of Communication. I heard lots of great feedback from those who work in our community, about how the day would help them to be more successful in their roles. Thank you also to our corporate sponsors, simply-communicate and Coca-Cola Enterprises, without whose support the event would not have happened,” said Stephen Welch, President of the IABC UK Chapter and Director of Hay Group.
The International Association of Business Communicators is the premier international knowledge network for professionals engaged in strategic business communication management. Founded in 1970, IABC has more than 15,000 members in over 80 countries.
About the author
Tessa O’Neill is VP of Marcomms & Social Media for IABC UK. She is an accomplished senior corporate communications professional with a proven track record of engaging employees and enhancing company reputation.