Changing The Conversation – Update from Advita Patel

I’ve been meaning to write an update for a while now but time has just flown since I became Chair of CIPR Inside in January. Firstly, thank you to everyone for your kind words and support since I stepped in, it’s been greatly appreciated. I knew that I was filling some big boots following Jenni Field’s tenure as Chair so it was a comfort knowing I had so many supporters.

The one thing I really want to mention in this update is our national conference that’s taking place in Birmingham on 8 October 2019. This is the first time we are hosting a conference outside of London so we knew it had to be something pretty special. The venue, which is Birmingham Town Hall, is just perfect for our theme which this year is ‘Changing The Conversation’. When Martin Flegg and I went to see it, it genuinely took our breath away and I hope many of you will feel exactly the same when you walk into the venue for the first time. The best thing about the Town Hall, apart from its spectacular surroundings, is that it’s run on a not-for-profit basis. Any profit they make is invested back into the community and used to support aspiring musicians, which in terms of social purpose really appealed to us. The Town Hall also has an extremely rich history and we will be sharing more stories about this over the next few months.

We chose the theme ‘Changing The Conversation’ because that’s exactly what we want to try and do. I’ve been working in the internal communications industry for a number of years now and I have to be honest, in the years I’ve been in IC nothing seems to have changed in terms of some of the conversations we are having. We still seem to be struggling to make progress in some key areas such as measurement, strategy and with the debate about getting a seat in the boardroom to be regarded as a trusted advisor. I don’t know about you but I feel that it’s time for us to address this and take it up a level. Which means that we now need to change the conversations we are having and get ready to overcome the future challenges for internal communications as a profession, which are nearly upon us.

To help us to start changing the conversation we have invited some fantastic speakers to come and share their thoughts. We are beyond excited about these presenters and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. We are also going to do things a bit differently this year and move away from the workshop style sessions we normally do and introduce a more collaborative networking space where you have more time to learn from each other by undertaking some masterminds. As an in-house communicator I really value time with other practitioners and learning from them, some of my best ideas come from these peer-to-peer conversations. I know that at conferences we sometimes struggle to get that time and it’s often a snatched conversation over a coffee break or lunch. So we have planned some time in so you get to know each other a little bit more and help build your network further.

There’s also recently been lots of discussion on social media about cost of tickets and inclusivity. We know how hard it can be for some to get a budget to buy ticket and cover the costs of travel and accommodation. We’ve definitely taken this in consideration this year and have created a pricing structure we think will work for most people. We are also offering people an opportunity to ‘Pay it forward’. This means that you can opt to pay for an extra place for someone who can’t get the funds together to come along.

We will be releasing a number of early bird tickets on Wednesday 3 April at 9.00am, so make sure you get that date in your diary. Over the next couple of weeks we will also be introducing you to our speakers, with our first speaker announcement kicking off next week.

We are genuinely excited to bring this conference to you. We know it’s going to be a fantastic day full of new conversations and connections.

I’m looking forward to meeting some of you soon and to start Changing the Conversation.


CIPR Inside Chair

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