Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of delivering my first Writing Masterclass in London to seven internal communications professionals on behalf of Rachel Miller and All Things IC.
It was a mixture of me talking, group discussion and exercises, and the main objective was for the attendees to take away practical writing skills they could start using at work the very next day.
It was a great session full of lively conversation, insightful questions and sharing of experiences, both mine and the people sat around the table.
And that’s the great thing about All Things IC Masterclasses, you can learn as much from the other attendees as you can from the tutor. And as the tutor, I also took away hints and tips from others in the room that I’ll certainly be using in the future.
For me, this masterclass was as much about imparting wisdom from my own experiences as it was about working on my professional development and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. So, I thought I’d share some of the things I learnt about preparing for, and delivering, a masterclass.
I was thrilled to be asked to judge one of the categories in the IoIC awards 2016, earlier in the summer, and tonight I’m attending the awards evening. No doubt it will be a fantastic night, celebrating the very best in internal communications.
But it got me thinking, how important are awards? It could be easy to dismiss them as a self-congratulatory, back-packing exercise, or a great thing to list on your CV. And of course, as with any type of award, you’re only judging what’s been entered, so there could be a world of other first-class examples that you never get to see. Compelling points, but I think there’s more to it than that.
Internal communicators have been rolling their eyes for a while now, as our organisations slowly wake up to the idea that employees make great external brand advocates.
Who better to promote your brand than the people that live it, day in, day out?
But sometimes that’s where the problems begin. Employee experience doesn’t always tally up with the image organisations like to project. Therefore, many internal communicators are being tasked with creating an employee brand. So what exactly is an employee brand and how does it differ from employer brand?
Originally written for Alive with ideas, read the full blog on their website.
As a member of the CIPR Inside committee, I’ve been involved in planning the next annual conference on 4 October. This year’s theme is Closing the gap. This might mean different things to different people, depending on the organisation you work for and the role you’re in. So, all the committee members are sharing what Closing the gap means to them…
I’ve worked with organisations where the gap between internal and external comms is equivalent to the Grand Canyon. The view has been different audiences, so therefore different responsibilities (and budgets!). But recently, that’s begun to change as organisations are waking up to the power of employee advocacy.
Imagine if Mozart had been so afraid of people’s reactions to his music, that he only ever played it for himself. Or if Shakespeare just got his kids to perform his plays, rather than open himself up to critique from the general public. I’m sure they had moments when they feared failure, but they didn’t allow it to stop them living creatively and sharing it with the world.
I recently read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Big Magic, which looked at how we can all live more creatively. Elizabeth dispels the myths that we all need to be tortured souls willing to sacrifice anything for our art. In fact, all we need is curiosity, courage, passion and the ability to overcome the too-often crippling fear of failure.
A while ago a friend asked me how many followers I had on Twitter. When I told her, she was surprised and said “but you’re not even famous!”. Now just to set expectation, my followers are currently at a respectable 1,150, so I’m no Taylor Swift, but not too bad for non-famous person.
But what my friend didn’t realise was that it took years to build up to that number. And that it was a conscious effort on my part to blog and tweet on a regular basis about things I thought would be of interest to my fellow internal communicators.
I also went against all my introverted tendencies and attended face-to-face networking events, struck up conversation with people I only knew online and kept in touch with them after.
The not exactly subtle new look.
At the beginning of June I returned to work following a six-month absence to receive treatment for breast cancer. After the elation of finishing a long slog of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I was brought back down to earth with the realisation that I would now be returning to work. A place I hadn’t been for six months, where team members had changed, where there was a new CEO, a new culture and I was rocking a not exactly subtle new look (see photo).
Having reached the one year milestone in my first in-house role, I’ve found myself reflecting on what I’ve learnt on the other side of the fence. It has been a huge learning curve, going from advising people on how they should run their internal communication projects in an agency to putting it into practice in an organisation of 4,500 people.
Especially as 4,500 people can make a lot of noise. As all IC pros will know, a big part of the job is dealing with day to day communications while trying to make time for the bigger, more strategic communications. And this is only magnified when you’re still trying to understand the sheer variety of work the people in our organisation deliver and how it all fits together. Continue reading
There’s not many conferences where people happily give up their Saturday to attend and the excitement in the lead up is comparable to going on holiday or Glastonbury. The Big Yak is undoubtedly the conference of the year and last Saturday again proved why.
The agenda less day saw 130 communicators get to the heart of the issues in our organisations and discuss them with honesty, humour and frustration. Many people commented after that it was like therapy – and I have to agree!
The sessions I attended covered a range of meaty subjects that inspired a lot of debate. Some of my key takeaways were: Continue reading
It’s not often you get to while away the afternoon in a TV studio all in the name of work. But that’s exactly what I did when ITN Productions held a workshop on how internal communicators can use TV formats to engage employees.
On the set of The Agenda, we heard from Simon Baker, Head of Corporate and Creative Production at ITN Productions and Lorraine Hambleton, Corporate Video Consultant. Continue reading