Reflections On A Conversation Across The Ocean

I’m just reflecting on a great conversation (#iabcacrosstheocean) we had between the IABC members in San Francisco and the UK. We will post a full recording of the conversation soon.

We set out to explore how we manage communication in the UK and in the USA. Rather than having an expert come to talk to us about the cultural differences and the implications of these we decided to use the knowledge and experience of our members to explore the theme.

So, what came out? First of all, thoughts on the role of communication:

  • We all agree (not just on the panel, but also in our pre-conversation survey) that communicators are increasingly acting as business partners and that our role encompasses
    • Helping to connect people to make them feel part of one company with shared goals
    • Helping leaders communicate effectively so that they share that narrative
    • Support line managers by supporting leaders – more effective leadership communication helps provide the knowledge and role models that support line managers in making connections with their people
  • What it is not: communications professionals should not be responsible for the communication skills of line managers, but we influence through the way we help leadership communication

On the challenges facing communicators today the conversation covered:

  • It’s important especially in large global organisations to be very clear about the boundaries and responsibilities in communication teams
  • One of the key challenges of new technology is helping leaders understand how they need to adapt to exploit it fully. This is not just about responding to an “always on” environment by managing different channels, media and responsibilities; it is also about a change in mind-set and a change in style. We talked about the need to be bolder and more informal
  • Demographics is an issue. Young people strain at the leash and are keen to learn and get involved, older people provide an invaluable resource and pool of experience that we would be foolish to ignore

What do communication people need to help them in their roles?

  • Less of us may now come from journalistic backgrounds, but we need to keep the key competencies and values of attention to detail, checking facts, being truthful and honest
  • We need global mind-sets. It’s not just about managing large organisations with offices all over the globe, it’s about sensitivity to the needs and demands of people in different places operating in different time zones and in different cultural environments

What are the cross-cultural perils?

  • We need to pay attention to language. Catherine supplied a great story of an acquisition in which the American parent celebrated the UK company’s habit of an annual event in which UK employees threw pies at leaders (don’t ask!), describing how they wanted to honour the tradition of tossing at the boss

It’s difficult to capture in a few bullet points the richness of the conversation that we had. These points are my take outs from the discussion. There were lots of us involved so please add your comments below.

We did not address in depth the central hypothesis that there are major differences between the UK and the USA in how we manage communication, other than Catherine’s story about the language problem. We also ended up focussing on internal vs external communication challenges – a reflection perhaps of the experience of the panellists. So, there is much more to explore in this debate and we hope to have some more of these conversations designed to put the I into IABC at the chapter level.

Finally, a big thank you to the panellists who helped in the conversation and who were brave enough to face a live audience. They were:

  • Catherine Rudiger, Vice president of ICF in San Francisco
  • Howard Krais, Communications Director, GSK plc and President Elect IABC UK
  • Daniel Schraibman, Independent Consultant and Board member IABC UK

I’d also like to record a big vote of thanks to Gay Flashman and her team from Formative Content whose technology made the whole thing possible

Mike Pounsford

President IABC UK

 

 

 

Improvisational Storytelling Workshop

If you would like to build on your current communication strengths, join us for this tip-filled 90-minute session.  We’ll explore the power of improvisation-based story-telling techniques to develop your skills in getting the message across.

 

Whether your aim is making more effective personal or corporate communications,  you’ll re-ignite your creativity through a series of experiential activities, illustrative models and reflective discussion.

 

In this participative workshop, you’ll learn:

  • How to craft stories that get the message across
  • How the Applied Improvisation approach to communications helps with clarity, confidence and charisma
  • How to access your creativity – in the moment and on-the-spot
  • How to apply these ideas to your work on brand or strategy – bring along a current case
  • How to respond to change and make better use of your resources

 

The session is led by ex-journalist and BBC comedy producer, Paul Z Jackson, co-founder of the Applied Improvisation Network, whose recent clients include Disney Animation Studios, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and Lush.

This event will take place on Thursday, January 25, 2018, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Jerwood Space- Space 8, 171 Union Street, London, SE1, 0LN.

To register, please visit this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/improvisation-based-story-telling-for-communicators-tickets-41206711383

 

Future Fit Communications: Our speakers

mikeMichael Ambjorn, Founder, AlignYourOrg

Michael Ambjorn is founder of Align Your Org, and passionate about helping changemakers achieve purpose-driven impact. Michael is also International Chair of IABC, the International Association of Business Communicators, and he is the facilitator for IABC’s 2014–17 strategy. Michael has held leadership roles at IBM, Motorola and the 260–year–old Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA), where he remains an active Fellow.

https://twitter.com/michaelambjorn

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelambjorn

https://alignyour.org

babuAshish Babu, Director of Communications – UK & Europe, Tata Consultancy Services

Ashish is responsible for creating and implementing communications programmes across 21 countries. With special focus towards enterprise and consumer technology, he has developed award-winning campaigns such as ElectUK mobile app and the #TCSsuperheroes narrative. Prior to TCS, Ashish was also an integral part of the launch team at Tata Sky (Newscorp & Tata JV) where he developed and implemented a nationwide communications strategy and has held senior roles with global PR agencies when in India.

https://twitter.com/ashishb24

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashish-babu-0b9522

www.tcs.com

ezriEzri Carlebach, consultant, writer, lecturer

Ezri Carlebach is a writer, lecturer, and consultant with over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, public relations, and internal comms. He has worked for government, non-profit, and FTSE 100 organisations, and now splits his time between Turin, Brussels, and London with a variety of clients. He is also Visiting Lecturer in Public Relations at the University of Greenwich.

https://twitter.com/ezriel

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ezrie

www.ezricarlebach.com

coniKeith Coni, Deputy Director of Capability, Standards & Professional Development, Cabinet Office

Keith led on professional capability for the Government Communications Service (GCS) from March 2015 until April 2016. In this time he introduced a cross-GCS skills survey, covering 4,000 communicators. Prior to this he ran a GCS programme of communication and marketing capability reviews. Keith’s previous roles in government include head of campaigns at Change4Life with the Dept of Health and Cabinet Office Transparency communications. Before joining the Civil Service he was a group account director at McCann-Erickson London, where he worked for seven years on global and national business.

https://twitter.com/KeithConi

https://www.linkedin.com/in/keith-coni-a23b554

https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk

crookLesley Crook, Internal Digital Strategy Advisor, Enterprise Strategies

Lesley is a digital client adviser at Enterprise Strategies where she designs digital transformation frameworks that decrease email dependency. Prior to joining Enterprise Strategies, Lesley was Internal Digital Communication Manager at GSK where she worked in partnership with IT to deliver many global digital projects. Lesley is experienced in social media, intranet governance, reward & recognition programmes and events management.

https://twitter.com/LAC999

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lesley-crook-5b92098

www.enterprisestrategies.com/

gayGay Flashman, Founder and CEO, Formative Content

Gay is the Founder and CEO of Formative Content, a fast-growing content marketing agency helping corporate clients around the world develop and share high quality content about their businesses. Gay is a journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in television news at Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News and the BBC.

https://twitter.com/g_flashman

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gayflashman

www.formativecontent.com

andyAndy Gibson, Founder, Mind Apples

Andy is a writer, entrepreneur and campaigner specialising in culture change and innovation. He founded the “5-a-day for your mind” campaign, Mindapples, co-founded the education web start-up, School of Everything, and helps organisations innovate through his consultancy, Sociability. His current research interests encompass management theory, leadership, psychology, wellbeing, secular spirituality and the future of work.

https://twitter.com/gandy

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gandrew

www.andrewgibson.org

darrenDarren Lilleker, Associate Professor of Political Communication, Bournemouth University

Dr Darren G. Lilleker is Associate Professor in Political Communication the Faculty of Media and Communication, Bournemouth University. His expertise is in the professionalization and marketization of politics, and the psychological impacts on citizen engagement and participation. The monograph Political Communication and Cognition offers a synthesis of this work. He teaches across the fields of politics and public relations, and outside of work Darren retains his love for rock and punk music and motorbikes.

https://twitter.com/DrDGL

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dlilleker

http://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/dlilleker

mattMatt O’Neill, Consultant, Futurist.Matt

Futurist Matt O’Neill helps organisations better prepare, predict and execute their positive futures. His approach is centred around collaboration and he’s certain that discovering the future is also a collaborative process. Matt won’t present you with a theoretical strategy which will be left on the shelf while your business is left behind. He will work with you to create a roadmap, supported by rich media, live events and in a generous spirit of curiosity.

https://twitter.com/mattoneill

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattone

www.modcommslimited.com

unaUna O’Sullivan, Head of Internal Communications – Global Financial Services, KPMG

Una O’Sullivan heads up internal communications for KPMG’s Global Financial Services business. Before that, she led the Global FS knowledge management program, which gives her the advantage of knowing all the rat runs around the business. In her spare time, she plays piano and runs (slowly, in both cases), and is a leader with Scouting Ireland.

https://twitter.com/Una_hello

https://www.linkedin.com/in/unaosullivan

https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home.html

joannaJoanna Osborn, Head of Customer Communications, GE Oil & Gas

https://twitter.com/ge_oilandgas

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jorosborn

www.geoilandgas.com

susanSusan Walker, Head, AES Communication Research

Communication measurement and employee engagement research specialist Susan wrote the book “Employee Engagement and Communication Research” and ran the IABC online employee Research Academy course. Her background includes internal communication, and heading the human resource and communication research practice at MORI. Susan is an IABC Accredited Business Communicator and last year received the Chairman’s award for dedicated service to IABC.

https://twitter.com/suseew

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-walker-9515253

www.commevaluation.com

OUR SPONSORS

Future Fit Communications is kindly supported by:-

abbotScarlettabbott powers conversations that connect, engage and motivate your people to deliver great business results. Passion, energy, originality and fun goes into every piece of work we deliver. @scarlettabbott / www.scarlettabbott.co.uk

commCommunicate magazine – the single voice for corporate communications and stakeholder relations. @communicatemag / www.communicatemagazine.co.uk

pitchPitchPack creates unique marketing and communication collaterals which embed video screens into printed brochures, books and briefing packs. [email protected] / http://bit.ly/pitchpack

The value of a multichannel strategy to communicate effectively with employees

 

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A diverse workforce can be a challenge to reach. Depending on just one channel to communicate to employees will not work. Adopting a multichannel approach will better enable you to engage with all of your employees. To accomplish this, internal communicators need to join the dots between strategy, behaviours and technology, to improve the flow and quality of communication and collaboration.

 

First review your general communication strategy:

 

  • Do you have goals and objectives for your communications? Everything should be aligned with

your company’s business objectives. This includes general goals per campaign, and goals

relating to your internal communications.

 

  • Select the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure your success in achieving your goals. Good KPIs to review include content popularity, survey responses, take up of safety initiatives, response to change management, video views, event registrations, or an increase in intranet or social network traffic – to name a few. Match the metrics you use to measure your success to the KPIs you have selected.

 

Conduct a channel audit

 

While you are reviewing channels available to you, also take the time to identify where you need to update your channel technology (such as email and intranet) to technology that saves you time, and delivers the real-time metrics and analytics you need. Having this type of insight will help you assess the channel popularity and audience preferences.

 

Channel strengths – Take a look at the existing communication channels available to you. Understanding their strengths will help you improve how you use each channel to help you reach a diverse workforce.

 

The role of insight and measurement in your success

 

Measurement lets you understand the impact of what you’re doing. Review your access to measurement in each of your channels, and use those selected metrics to help you gain insight into your campaigns. In the selection of metrics you use, try to be consistent in your choice across each of your communication channels. By doing this you are not looking at channels in isolation – you are getting consistent insight into engagement across all channels, allowing you to make decisions based on these insights.

 

For example measure adoption and engagement, collaboration and rich media consumption (video, podcasts), and device consumption (desktop or smartphone). Collate your most influential users and top contributors, plus content, posts, pages and comment trends and popularity.

 

The future is multichannel measurement

 

Having access to individual channel metrics is the first part of your journey. To understand your channel effectiveness you need the ability to measure globally by campaign across all your channels.

 

Taking a multichannel approach – using all your channels to communicate, and measuring across your channels – will empower you to improve your communications going forward and show real business impact to stakeholders.

 

Newsweaver has compiled a PDF that includes insight from a number of communication experts, providing insight into key issues facing communicators right now. Internal Communication today – Insight from the inside

Social media tools for big business

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Case studies and real-life insights, as well as new approaches to internal comms dominated the agenda at the seventh SMiLE London last week, attended by several IABC UK board members

SMiLE is a hugely popular event run by Simply Communicate twice a year to discuss issues, trends and challenges in the implementation and execution of social media in large organisations.

Companies represented at the event this year included Philips, the Football Association, British Gas, EY and Virgin Trains.

Industry speaker highlights

Paddy Power: Rosie Boylan, head of internal communication at the online betting service talked about the direction in which internal comms is heading, saying that companies are moving away from “posters and email”. Rosie’s view is that comms teams should aim for one primary message per month to staff; it’s vital that, rather than just pushing out a message, comms teams focus on defining and measuring the impact of the messaging. Briefing templates can help with this process.

The Football Association: Jamie Crigg of the Football Association outlined the FA’s use of Telligent app to link its 1,800 staff. The FA creates a range of topic and department groups for focused, targeted coms; governance ensures that the number of groups is limited, and that multiple groups that deal with the same matters are not created. To make Telligent work effectively and to manage and archive groups, internal community owners are needed. In addition to the general internal comms material being created and shared via Telligent, senior managers are blogging to provide updates and progress, rather than sending multiple corporate emails.

Philips: Dennis Agusi , head of global internal comms at Philips, mapped out the organisation’s range of tools. The company is using IBM Connections, as well as SocialCast plus SharePoint. Mr Agusi’s view is that these tools support managers to communicate directly with staff, rather than tactically ‘sending’ comms messages out to all. As well as the social and integrated social software, the company is also using Kaltura for centralised video hosting to save time and money with video hosting and sharing. Philips has also ‘reimagined’ its intranet, moving away from a straightforward navigation-based intranet to a task-based, topic-based intranet.

Casilda Malagon, IABC-UK Chapter President, attended the conference and reflected:

“Integration seemed to be the name of the game. Whether we are looking at adopting new tools or platforms, or raising engagement in existing ones, the discussion is now focussing on how we use everything we have in hand for the purpose of our businesses.”

“The way forward will be to start with the needs and desires of our audiences – in this case employees – and map out how social can support them. SMiLE brought the human back into social, again!”

Other IABC attendees at SMiLE included Lesley Crook IABC-UK Chapter board member, and newly appointed consultant at Enterprise Strategies. Lesley ran a table discussion on Working out Loud in a Network. Coincidentally its International Working Out Loud this week, 16-23 November 2015.

Liam Fitzpatrick IABC Certification Council and Partner at Working Strategies also ran a table discussion “What’s On Your Dashboard?”.

For more stories and information from SMiLE London see the event conversations on Storify

The next IABC event will be our IABC Meaningful Measurement workshop on 25 November, 6pm at Anglo American, 20 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AN.