Building our future – guest post

Kareen Griffiths one of the Internal communications professionals who attended the conference has shared her view of the conference.

Thank you Kareen, and over to you

The CIPR conference was filled with the usual anticipation and excitement each year this event comes around. What do we need to think about as Internal Communications (IC) Practitioners now and for the future? What will I learn that’s new or different? What will I learn from other practitioners? I love the level of expectation I have, hoping this event will tick all of my individual needs, I mean that’s what we pay the money for …or is it?

I do get a little nervous around the whole networking thing. I attend these conferences on my own and still find it a little daunting walking up to people or tables by myself. I always wish this part was made a little easier. Strategic networkers would be nice, they could be patron who offer a little bit of  meet or greet and hook them up with other lone attendees.

As usual, the agenda was packed with great and insightful speakers but, the main difference this year was the introduction of the workshops. I think this gave people some opportunity to interact and learn about subjects specific to them. The agenda was packed, full and lively in comparison to last year. You could physically see all the hard work that had gone into providing a good mix of speakers and the opportunity to interact at the workshop sessions.

This was good to see. The feedback from last year had made a difference and it felt for me as an attendee that things were definitely evolving.

Upon reflection, I started to think about what I was hoping to get out of the conference this year. I mean, that’s what counts overall. We all know it’s difficult to get a true balance about what people expect from a personal point of you. We all know in our roles as practitioners, our job is to assess

and meet people’s needs in organisations, so I suppose I can only talk from the perspective of ‘did it meet my expectations?’ On the whole I’m glad to say it did. For someone like me who attended last year, the conference had evolved for sure. I‘m not sure whether you would have felt that way if you hadn’t attended last year as you wouldn’t know what would have changed and nothing to benchmark against.

I think the most important thing I learnt from the conference, is to manage my own expectations on what the key message was for me and how I can take that and apply it in the future. It’s impossible to apply all aspects, and for some, it can be quite overwhelming to look at everything. As practitioners we spend our time, crafting and cutting through the noise to create that key message for others, so it’s important we apply these principles for ourselves.

So, with this in mind, I looked at what my ‘one key message’ was for the day and how I can apply this in the future. It’s important to note, I’m a freelance practitioner, so my goal was to look at what organisations want in the future from IC and how we adapt our practice and structures to meet this, continually. Clients have an expectation and it’s important to continually stay ahead and offer sound advice.

Key message: “Sarah Larver – traditional communication no longer controls the message. The lines of communication are blurred.” This statement conjures up many questions for us as practitioners. We have spent our time in Internal Communications trying to explain our profession, explain where it sits within the organisations and departments. It’s easy for HR, no questions asked, for Finance no questions asked but for IC, yes, sit with HR, no sit with Marketing, sit with Corporate Communications. IC feels it needs a home so it can justify its existence to senior leaders and produce materials to show its return on investment.

Now we’re evolving, Sarah’s statement left me thinking and that’s the key. I believe attending conference is about taking away something for you to think about and understand how you can apply this to where you are. That message should continue to evolve and it’s up to us to take the tips of the day and challenge ourselves, go away and solve them by talking to our colleagues, communication networks, IC groups, opening up the conversations for change.

Yes, the conference was insightful for me. I listened and talked with many practitioners with all kinds of expectations. Some were fairly new or transitioned recently from another function into IC and overwhelmed with all the developments and new ways you can work. Some practitioners had been operating in this space for a long time and didn’t feel they had learnt anything new.

Either way, without a doubt, I can truly say that the speakers we had, industry, social media and leadership experts, gave us an insight to what’s expected from us. That’s what counts.

What would I like to see next time? Segment our attendee audience. I think if you work in public sector, banking, engineering sectors, most people want to share similar challenges and maybe if we explored how this could work for next time, then the conference will become a true collaborative experience.

Until next year…

Thanks for sharing Kareen. If you have a short post longing to be shared, let us know, and send it to us at ciprinisde@gmail.com

One Comment

  1. Pingback: All Things IC | Building the future of internal comms

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