Communication, Technology, Participation: The case for EuroComm

The world in general, and Europe in particular, have no shortage of communication conferences. But with its registration opening today, #EuroComm18 intends to be fundamentally different in powerful, engaging and connective ways.

This new intent will combine EuroComm’s traditionally unique position as Europe’s major regional practitioner-led conference, with a newfound openness reflected by including a one-day Open Space event, and by the IABC EMENA Region Board’s intent to partner with other communication groups in the region to expand EuroComm’s reach and impact.

Open Space, for those who don’t know it, is the most powerful event facilitation technique I have ever experienced. Rather than deliver presentations and lectures from a pre-set group of speakers, Open Space events start with the circulation of a question, and then consist of a day of discussions and workshops aimed at addressing the question, conducted by participants on the day of the event.

Open Space events produce deliverables and action lists that participants take on. They fully engage participants, connect new people in substantial ways, and often lead to new initiatives and realities unimaginable before they occur.

As the EuroComm18 open space will take place on day two, the participation will be informed by a day of more formal presentations, workshops and keynotes from day one. The event has generated considerable speaker interest already – and a primary aim of the selection process should be to make sure that each speech connects the three elements of the communication-technology-participation triangle.

In no small part, the focus on communication-technology-participation is reflected in the choice of Copenhagen as EuroComm venue.

The Nordic Countries have achieved immense degrees of citizen participation, and Nordic workplaces have a reputation for being more participatory than their continental or Anglo-Saxon counterparts. The participatory nature of a culture, in turn, drives communication culture and it also drives the basics – feedback, channel choices, and tone being most obvious. Technology, in turn, can be used to broaden the base of participants, or narrow the list to those who are most influential.

But this isn’t simply a show-and-tell opportunity for Nordic practitioners and communicators. It’s also an opportunity for communicators in the EMENA (Europe, Middle East and North Africa) region and beyond to share, formally and informally, their own approaches, philosophies and technology solutions.

It’s also a moment to create a new, fresh conversation about IABC in the EMENA region. In offering a revenue-sharing partnership for the event with national and regional communication groups, IABC will use EuroComm a means for connecting with national PR and internal communication groups, while offering a special discount to participants who belong to other communication organizations. These moves represent a notable cultural shift for IABC and bode well for its future in the EMENA space.

While EuroComm’s fees are well below those of commercial conference, the willingness of top speakers to speak, and of member-volunteers to run a world class event in every way have always made EuroComm one of the year’s most valuable comms events. With its emphasis on participation and inclusion, the aim is for EuroComm18 to the year’s most compelling regional communication event.

By Mike Klein, IABC EMENA Regional Vice Chair and part of the design team for EuroComm 2018.