Last Tuesday saw the latest smileexpo event in London (23 May 17) and I was lucky enough to attend. As ever it was a packed agenda, with over 100 people in attendance to chat with too. Here are some of my notes from the day.
While writing a blog about continuing professional development (CPD) and professional memberships for communicators this week I had a small revelation about myself. Not only do I love learning, but I actually ‘need’ to keep learning. I don’t mean ‘need’ to with regard to keeping my communication expertise and knowledge up to date, that’s a given. What I mean is, I realised I’m happiest when I am learning something new. Working independently in communication allows me to learn in two fundamental ways:
OneI take charge, fund and make my own time for my learning and development by working independently. I go to the events I want to attend, read up on the topics I want to learn, join webinars and more as my schedule allows to develop my knowledge and skills (which of course my clients benefit from too).
TwoBecause I get to research, analyse and understand my clients’ businesses in a deep way I’m always learning something new about the businesses I work with and finding solutions to their challenges. Good communicators spend time learning about the business strategy, stakeholders, culture and purpose. This is essential to help clients and employers to communicate and listen effectively to be more successful and I really enjoy this process.
It’s been over six years since I started my comms consultancy. And for much of that time I’ve been working with CIPR Inside providing communication consultancy, running the #insidestory awards and continually reviewing and evolving the awards since we launched them in 2012. On Monday 16 Jan '17 we held a brilliant judging day as part of the fifth #insidestory awards. I loved meeting the entrants and judges and hearing their stories. Everyone enjoyed the day. But now it’s time for me to branch out more with my business. So that judging day was my last task to support the group. The committee are all set for the party when the big news of who wins will be announced. I’m coming too. Just try and stop me going to the zoo!!!
Last Thursday (19 May) I organised a #asktheguru event, one of CIPR Inside's small, informal and popular events, at the offices of Ruder Finn UK. As one of CIPR Inside's lead sponsors the team hosted the event for us in their fantastic new offices in Finsbury Circus, London.
There have been many organisations caught in the spotlight of the media glare after a crisis in recent years and as each of those stories hit the headlines it has made me think of the people working in those businesses. What must they be feeling? What an organisation does in a time of crisis is a real insight into their approach to comms. Are the communications timely, are the messages honest and leadership open, are the messages consistent over time and both internally and externally?
[att_social icon="twitter" url="https://twitter.com/ktmarlow" title="Follow Me" target="self" rel=""]It's no secret that I work with CIPR Inside (the CIPR's group for internal communication and employee engagement) and support the committee on a range of projects. Well the latest project was the annual internal communication conference. I was very involved in the event organisation, promotion and management on the day. It's a highlight of our year, it always seems to come around too quickly, I always leave feeling tired but incredibly inspired (I'm very lucky to have a client that is a professional voice for the profession I work in and love!!!). So I've just written up the below post for CIPR Inside, but as it's relevant and interesting for me and what I do in my day job, I'm sharing it here too. And that's part of a fresh promise to myself to share more of what I do here.
Katie Marlow recently went to Futurecomms15 and as she works with CIPR Inside to help us communicate what we do, we asked her to share her thoughts on futurecomms. Over to Katie: Thursday 18 June saw the second Futurecomms event, take place in London at the Crystal. It was a bright day. Glimmering in the summer sun, the Crystal overlooks the docks, with cable cars gliding overhead between the Emirates Royal Docks and Emirates Greenwich Peninsular.
It's true, Some organisations are just like HOME, others feel truly alien. I've worked in a couple of odd ones to know that some places of work just make you feel out of place, zapped of your energy and enthusiasm, and plain unhappy. And that's not good for the organisation or the people it depends upon to be successful. Happily I've worked in many more great organisations where people thrive and love what they do. I know where I'd rather be. As a communicator I find the way organisations operate, their cultures and internal communication fascinating. To the point that it's something I find myself thinking about in the most unlikely places. I was at the cinema with my children enjoying the film 'Home' during the holidays. If you've not had the pleasure, here's a brief synopsis to help you understand the background to my alien thinking and it's connection to organisations.
I have been very quiet here for a while. I've been taking some golden time out to concentrate on my learning and professional development. There's something I've been putting off for too long, and I really needed to crack on with it. So over the last six months I've been putting my efforts into my Internal Communication Diploma. It's been a tough challenge, but one that I really wanted to succeed in. I found the whole process really interesting and inspiring, I had so many new ideas as a result of the reading and interviews I undertook. I carried out a broad study into the links between how an organisation copes with and recovers from crisis and the strength of its internal communication function and levels of employee engagement. My thinking was based upon the idea that many organisations face crises that arise because of their own action or inaction. 'Their own culture has left them predisposed to crisis'.
On Saturday 28 June, I joined nearly 150 internal communicators and headed off to #thebigyak organised by The IC crowd, and facilitated by Benjamin Ellis. Yes it was the weekend and yes we all went to this event because we love what we do. You could not find a more motivated bunch of communicators than those willing to take a whole day in a weekend and go off and talk shop. The format of the day was an 'unconference' which puts the agenda in the (hairy) hands of the delegates.
On Thursday 5 and Friday 6 June a group of like-minded people gathered in a seafront hotel in Bournemouth for the All About People conference. I find the culture of organisations and the shift to people focussed business fascinating, so I joined the event and I’ll share some of the insights from the two days here. Andy Swann, the creator of the event first wanted to just bring a few people together to share ideas and have some fun, but it soon grew into the All About People event. In Andy’s words from his welcome: “I’m not going to tell you want to expect from #aapcon14, the opportunity is there to create your own experience. Informal yes, idealistic maybe, human certainly.” And that nicely sums up exactly what the event turned out to be.
I spent 5 and 6 June 2014 in the company of some really brilliant people in my home town of Bournemouth. The All About People [caption id="attachment_517" align="alignright" width="228"] What was the creative brief for this image?[/caption] Conference, organised by Andy Swann, Head of Ideas and Mistakes at My Amazing Team @AndySwann was really inspiring. There was so much great stuff covered, my head is still buzzing with ideas to take to my clients and beyond. It was great to see Bournemouth hosting an innovative and provocative event. As a local passionate about great communication, internal comms and the way we work it was a great opportunity.
To follow from the part one blog post of #ioiclive14 here’s part two which I've written for cirinside.co.uk and sharing here. It covers the introvert extrovert debate, neuroscience, Bupa and the extra mile, and Peer 1 Hosting and their approach to providing an environment and culture that enables engagement to flourish…
On Friday 2 May, 100 plus internal communication professionals gathered at #ioiclive14 in Brighton. I was really looking forward to the day. I love learning and taking the time to meet new people who who share a love of comms. I was there with two hats, one my own, and one for CIPR Inside the specialist group for internal comms at the CIPR. In the true sense of sharing and partnership across institutions, CIPR Inside’s chair, Jenni Wheller was one of the speakers on the day and was involved in the conference organisation.
It’s my third anniversary of working for myself this August. It’s been an exciting time and I’ve learned a lot freelancing from my home office in Bournemouth. I posted a while ago about three little things that stood out for me from 2012. They were: Trusting your instinct, Getting the balance right and Taking satisfaction and rewarding yourself for a job well done.