The last leg of our listening journey: the global survey

I remember kicking this whole thing off. IABC’s Euro Comm event in Copenhagen in the spring of 2018 (remember when we could travel?). It was the Open Space session and I wanted to talk about listening. I wanted to talk about whether communicators were listening to their audiences or were we increasingly just getting stuck behind our desks, ticking off items on our ‘to do’ lists?  I had no idea at that point what I was getting into. 

Surprisingly perhaps others were interested in the topic too. Back in London, together with Mike Pounsford, my predecessor as IABC UK President, and Dr Kevin Ruck from the PR Academy, we decided to collaborate on some work around listening and see where it would take us. 

What we found has been fascinating. We’ve explored topics such as psychological safety and social justice, introduced a listening spectrum and reinforced beyond doubt the strong correlation between listening and employee engagement, trust and well being; and indeed better business performance. 

Two things in particular have stood out for me. Firstly that this work has resonated with so many people. Communicators from across the world have attended our events, contributed to our research and generally taken an interest in the work. I hope it has helped them. Secondly I have had the chance to work with two real pros. Mike and Kevin have frequently taken on much of the ‘heavy lifting’ without complaining and certainly helped me manage through the challenges of the day job and I thank them deeply for that. 

It’s been quite a journey and investigating the topic of listening has opened up a world of interesting opportunities. Two reports (download the first one here and the second one here) and a number of events later (including this year’s virtual IABC World Conference), we’ve arrived at possibly the final phase of this journey. Not wanting to finish quietly we are working with the IABC Foundation to undertake a global listening survey, with the kind support of the CIPR Inside and IoIC organisations in the UK.

With this survey we are looking to better understand attitudes towards listening, to compare practice across different regions and to deepen our understanding of how listening supports better outcomes.

So please help us. Please take this survey – it should only take 10 minutes and you can find it here. And if you and leave your email address then we’ll send you a copy of the following report.  

Are we really approaching the end of this work? Will this be the final piece of the listening project? Maybe – I’m sure we’ll listen to what you tell us. 


Howard Krais

IABC UK&I Past President

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