Learning, ideas and exploration ... every year the IABC Heritage Region Conference brings us new professional development and networking opportunities. Here are two experiences from the 2016 conference scholarship winners: Jennnifer Shatwell—CEO and principal consultant at KTNZ LLC and a regional volunteer—and Terri Wellman, who is communication manager at MediSync and IABC Greater Cincinnati Chapter board member.
How was Heritage Region Conference like Yoga?
The recent Heritage Region Conference in Columbus was my introduction to an IABC conference. I am grateful that I was able to attend on a scholarship, provided by the Region. It was an amazing two days.
Taking part in the conference was like a good yoga session! I came away standing taller and breathing more deeply. While I had to stretch a bit beyond my comfort zone, I am more flexible because of it. Although it wasn’t easy to find the time in my schedule, I returned to work thinking more clearly and with better focus. No doubt, it was time well spent.
As a scholarship recipient, please know that I’m very grateful to the Heritage Region for enabling my attendance and for the Greater Cincinnati Chapter’s nomination. As VP of membership for Cincinnati IABC, attending the conference has propelled my efforts in attracting and welcoming those who are interested in our chapter.
It’s good that my drive from the Heritage Region Conference to my home in Cincinnati is an easy two hours down I-71. With the presentations and conversations from the previous two days replaying in my head, I knew I had experienced IABC in prime time.
The conference provided more than remarkable professional development. It fostered a stronger connection to the organization for me. What you hear is true… IABC is a vast network to professional communicators, who are challenged by the same struggles that you encounter. But through IABC, we share strategies and celebrate accomplishments. Because of IABC, we are more effective, and so are our organizations.
Conference Content: Striking a Balance Between the Science and the Art of Communications
This year marked my second opportunity to attend the IABC Heritage Region Conference. The first was as a speaker and a representative of Melcrum, now a CEB Company, back in 2014, and this year it was both as an independent consultant and a sincerely grateful scholarship recipient.
Thanks in part to my tenure as a best practices advisor, and in part to a healthy and overactive left brain, I am a communication professional of the most down-to-earth variety and an unabashed believer in the necessity of science and art in the communication field.
That’s why I was particularly pleased to hear so many fellow practitioners and consultants speak at this year’s Heritage Region Conference on the topics of strategic planning, measurement and purpose.
Are you familiar with the phrase, “Spray and pray?” I wish I had come up with it myself, but I admit to borrowing it from a former client to describe the “all messages, all channels, all audiences” approach to broadcast Internal Communication that too many organizations are still struggling to dismantle.
We know it doesn’t work. We know there’s too much noise in the system. But how do we overcome it and where do we start?
So it’s important to hear from peers and experts in our field more—and louder—about targeted audience analysis, personalized digital communications and impact-oriented measurement (as opposed to activity-oriented measurement).
And forget communicating for the sake of communicating! I loved hearing others agree that it doesn’t necessarily matter whether we update the intranet home page every day anymore. Are we adding value to a focused conversation around purpose, or are we getting in our own way?
There’s certainly a balance that we need to strike between the science and the art, so that we don’t diminish our creativity and storytelling abilities, but I welcome a more systematic approach to corporate communication—and especially Internal Communication—and greatly appreciated that so much of the content this year tasted of this flavor.