I knew this day was coming

As soon as I said yes, well over a year ago, to become Mike’s number two I knew that the day when I would have to step up as President of IABC UK would come round soon enough. And on Wednesday evening, with brilliant blue skies and the beautiful London skyline providing a wonderful backdrop for our AGM, I became President of the UK chapter of the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators).

The beauty of getting involved with a professional association such as IABC is that there is built in continuity. You sign up for a three year term, a year as President-elect, a year as President and then a year as Past President. The continuity has come from a succession of great teams. For the year just finished it is right to pay tribute to Kira Scharwey who has completed her three year term and to Mike Pounsford, who has been an inspirational president, leading from the front and giving me a great base to build on.

And we have an exciting year ahead. We have a great Board (names below). Several new faces adding to the majority of last year’s team. These are people who come from a range of roles across the communications sector, and who are passionate about communications and how we can help improve the profession.

I want us to continue focusing on delivering value to our members, something we’ve tried hard to do over the past year, for example not charging members to attend events. We need to keep challenging ourselves to improve our offering thereby encouraging comms professionals to take out a membership because they value what they get for it. That doesn’t just mean the events we run either, but access to so much more, including mentoring (either providing or receiving), recognised certification, a new corporate membership offer, a fantastic wealth of resources and seminars, as well as the Gold Quill awards process and probably a bunch of other things I’ve not mentioned.

This year I judged for Gold Quill for the first time. If you don’t know about them then I can only recommend you find out. I was so impressed by the way Gold Quill sets out what excellence looks like in communications, not just as an award but simply for structuring a communications project.

What really differentiates IABC is the global nature of the organisation. Whether through the connections you make, the events you can attend such as Euro Comm, this year an excellent experience in Copenhagen or World Conference, where just a couple of weeks ago over 1,300 communicators from 30 countries met in Montreal. All reports were it was a great event and next year I want to join them in Vancouver.

Another way we can display our international credentials is through our own activities. Earlier this year we worked with the IABC San Francisco chapter to hold a live ‘Conversation Across the Ocean’ where we had a panel eight hours apart but chatting as if we were in the same room; examining the cultural differences that communicators face. Feedback from the event was brilliant and we know there is interest from other US and Canada chapters to follow up.

Events are our ‘bread and butter’. Over the past year we have run a range of different events targeting and attracting people from across the communications spectrum. We ran one event, a hugely interactive opportunity to learn about improvisation in storytelling, in London and also in Leeds, with the latter attracting over 150 people.

Our relationships with Leeds University, and the London Communications College are flourishing. This year we will think about how we can do more for students, not just so they get a good experience this year, but also to provide skills students can take with them in their careers. We have two student board members this year. One of them Alexa Cifre has already blogged about how she has developed her networking skills at last night’s AGM.

Another key area of focus for this year will be our own communications (which may either be a strange or obvious thing to say for a comms sector organisation). We need to improve our proactivity around social media and website particularly and have plans in place to do that.

One other really important thing that I’m keen we focus on is listening. It’s a subject that I am very passionate about. My belief is listening forms a key part of the communicators’ armoury. As someone said to me recently, for communicators the output of listening is getting and sharing valuable insights, but the outcome is increased influence. Yet I believe, that in many big companies especially, listening is under threat. This may be because teams, shrinking in size but expected to do more are focused on huge tasked-based in trays, or the difficulties of getting around an organisation in an era of strict travel policies or maybe simply a lack of confidence or capability.

I think this is important and we need to do something about it. I want IABC to be involved in this, but it is probably bigger than something we can do ourselves and I’ve had conversations with colleagues from across the industry including some of the other sector groups, such as IOIC and CIPR Inside, to see where we can work together for the benefit of the profession as a whole.

Sometimes we do need to temper our enthusiasm and ambitions though and remember that everyone involved on the Board of IABC UK is a volunteer. For me personally, I’ve just started an exciting new job at Johnson Matthey. Leading a volunteer board means you won’t always get to deliver all the exciting things you might like to. Sometimes real life will get in the way. All the best laid plans etc. I say this because whilst our ambition is big, it is important to have a degree of pragmatism. Hopefully both the quality, and quantity of people we’ve got this year will mean we can cover when someone has to deal with other priorities.

Ultimately though it comes down to what members (and non-members) think. Are we offering value, are we providing something that helps them develop or do their job better? I hope so!

My ask of communication professionals reading this is please get involved, come to an event, tell us what you want and where we can provide you with something that is worthwhile. IABC (and the other comms organisations) can only prosper if you help us provide what you need.

If I’ve learnt anything this year it is the truth of the old saying “the more you put into something, the more you get out”. I’ve had a great year getting more involved with IABC, you can too and I’m excited about 2018/19, which looks set to be a memorable year for IABC UK.

I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.

IABC UK Board 2018/19

Howard Krais (President). Sarah Parker (President-elect), Mike Pounsford (Past President), Ann-Marie Blake, Suzanne Brooks, Claudia Damato, Gay Flashman, Georgia Halston, Sarah Harrison, Lauren MacDonald, Casilda Malagon, Una O’Sullivan, Alexandra Cifre, Kira Scharwey, Mathilde Schneider and Daniel Schraibman

IABC UK Summer Drinks & AGM

Wednesday 27th June, 6-8pm at The Madano Partnership

We would like to invite you to join us for the IABC UK Chapter AGM, where we’ll give a rundown of the past year’s activities and share our plans for the year ahead. 

This is a great evening to meet up with fellow IABC members and friends – fingers crossed for fine weather so that we can enjoy the spectacular City views from Madano’s roof terrace.

We hope to see you there.

Please register here.

IABC UK and Leeds Business School Improvisational Storytelling Event- April 25

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways companies share compelling messages which help drive home specific agendas.

Join us on the 25th of April as the University of Leeds Business School and the IABC UK present an hold a thought-provoking improvisational storytelling workshop, featuring renowned coach and trainer, Paul Z. Jackson!

Here’s Matt from the University of Leeds Business school with a brief message on the event.

 

To register, click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/improvisational-storytelling-leeds-tickets-44200353447?aff=es2

Video for IABC’s “Communications Across the Ocean” Dialogue

Last March 27, 2018, the London and San Francisco chapters of the IABC engaged in the first “Communications Across the Ocean” webinar. The event allowed industry trailblazers from the UK and US to share their insights on how communicators can help optimise the potential of their respective organisations while bearing in mind the cross-cultural impact of their work.

See the full video of the discussion here:

IABC UK takes pride in its commitment to spotlight the vital role of communications in aiding in stakeholder engagement and overall organisational success. Stay tuned to this website and IABC UK’s social media channels for updates on other exciting events!

IABC Leeds Improvisational Storytelling Event- Speaker Profile

Meet Paul Z Jackson, the master of improvisational storytelling and leading speaker at LUBSxIABC 2018 event.

“Stories feed us, sooth us and help us to remember ourselves and how we share knowledge, journeys and laughter. They happen around fires in homes, in performance. In the moment between one breath and another.

Sometimes, they just happen. People are amazing and it’s the best in us that the Storyteller seeks. As we see how amazing we can each be so our journey becomes clearer and we help others along the way” – this is how Paul Z Jackson defines the power and magic of storytelling.

Being one of the leading figures in application of improvisation in the UK and around the world, Paul brings out the best in people as a facilitator, coach, best-selling author and trainer of trainers and facilitators around the world. Paul is co-founder and President of the Applied Improvisation Network for over a decade, working on project design and implemntation, as well as workshops and training programmes that transform lives by developing collaborative skills. He is also director of leading change consultancy The Solutions Focus, on the accreditation team of the UK Association of Solution Focused Practice, and serves on the SOLworld steering group.

The Solutions Focus – Making Coaching and Change simple, rated as one of the Top 30 business books of the year in the USA, according to the critics is a must reading focusing on potential, affirmation and solutions, evolutionary yet practical alternative to conventional wisdom.

His other books include Positively Speaking – the art of constructive conversations with a solutions focus, Impro Learning58½ Ways To Improvise In Training, The Inspirational Trainer, The Resilience Pocketbook and Easy.

Paul as an inspirational consultant, coach and facilitator, draws on his experiences in journalism, comedy production and the BBC to design and deliver impactful, story-rich events that connect directly to the needs of the participants.

Audiences at conferences around the world and readers of his books benefit from his expertise in strategy, leadership, teamwork, creativity and innovation.

On April 25th, there will be an exclusive opportunity for communication practitioners to attend the interactive session on “Improvisational Storytelling” at Leeds University Business school.