Live from IABC World Conference 2013: Stephen Welch

IABC World Conference 2013 New York

The IABC World conference is happening in New York as we speak! More than 2,000 business communicators have joined from around the world to discuss what’s hot, what’s and not, in the world of communications. Learnings and connections are the key.

Here’s an op-ed from Stephen Welch,  IABC UK chapter president, Director and partner at Hay Group and member of the International Advisory Panel at Communication World Magazine with his take on Day 1 of the conference.



IABC World Conference is an fascinating mix of the modern and the traditional; the interesting and disappointing and all in all a great way to expand your network, learn new ideas and develop your career.

I’ve certainly felt that so far and it is only day 1.



The day started with a great session on digital assassination and crisis management.

This is not my expertise but it was brought to life via a facilitated role play with various senior business people on the stage acting as if they were the CEO, Communications Director, Investor, etc. in a company being attacked.

On the other side of the table were a bunch of rampaging journalists (or at least people pretending to be so). Great theatre and a format I hope to steal and bring back to the UK. What a nice way to bring a topic to life and engage the audience in a new way.



After that, I attended four other sessions; two great ones, one not so great, and one which made be disappointed in my colleagues in the communication profession.

The not so great (for this reviewer at least) was a discussion on Millennials and how to market and communicate with them. Maybe I’ve heard a lot on this already but it seemed to me that more could have been done to transform the Gen X-style hour long panel discussion into something that would role model the lessons a bit more.  Even a live twitter feed would have helped.

The two great sessions were both well attended – full houses, no less – and concerned the craft and art of communication: how to persuade,  and the art of leadership communication.

It was clear that there is demand and interest to understand more about techniques of successful communication –  I certainly got some new ideas and practices – and who doesn’t like to be entertained by a great presenter?

I hope to share some of these ideas at our next IABC UK networking event.



Lastly, my fellow IABC UK Board member Susan Walker was talking about employee engagement, and how to link employee surveys to the business and make them into a real business tool to drive performance.

Great insights from an experienced researcher and communicator. But! Hardly anyone was there. Is it that the craft and art of communication is more interesting than delivering business performance? Is it that the science of employee research is not inherently appealing to creative communicators?

This seemed to me a golden opportunity for communicators to participate in a business discussion and use their skills and expertise to improve business performance. But it seemed that only 20-30 people wanted to link their work to organizational performance.

Here’s a link to Susan’s slides and you can understand what it takes to deliver an effective employee survey – more importantly – how you can show your financial impact as a communicator.

That’s all from Stephen – for now.



Meanwhile, make sure you follow the twitter feed at #IABCWC13 – we will be back with more, soon.

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