It’s been 24 hours since the big yak ended and my brain is still buzzing.
Yesterday I was proud to host a free unconference for internal communication (IC) professionals to attend, the big yak, alongside my fellow @theICcrowd co-founders Jenni and Dana.
The IC Crowd is a network that we’ve established for people working in and interested in internal communication to connect, communicate and share ideas. And my goodness the 130 IC pros who came along yesterday did that by the bucket load!
Walking through eBay’s office in London, who kindly allowed us to use their space, I was struck by the sheer noise and enthusiasm – there were conversations happening in the designated areas and also smaller groups of people were sitting talking, where conversations spilled past the allotted times or impromptu ones erupted.
I’ve often said that internal communication is a friendly profession and that was certainly evident yesterday. I had many conversations with people that I have Tweeted with for a number of years and it was a pleasure to put people to profiles and enjoy talking face-to-face.
We wanted people to feel relaxed and able to have fun – it was the weekend after all, and I think the Vines at the bottom of this page will give you an insight into whether that was achieved. I certainly didn’t stop grinning all day!
Thank you to our sponsors who helped to make the big yak possible: Theblueballroom, VMA Group, Yammer, ego-creative, scarlettabbott, Words&Pictures, NixonMcInnes, Comment8, ab, Sequel Group and HarknessKennett. Plus media sponsors: Communicate Magazine and simply-communicate.
This was my first experience of an unconference and I would love to know if anyone uses this unstructured format for their internal communication – or would you consider it now if you’ve experienced it? I can see that an annual managers’ conference for example would benefit from an injection of versatility.
Do Tweet me @allthingsIC or comment below if this is something you have tried and you’d like to share your story.
If it’s new to you, the format basically means people who are in the room decide what they would like to talk about and sessions are created based on the most popular topics.
It was a day where it was hard to choose what topics to join in with, but as ‘the law of two feet’ was in play, people were encouraged to move between sessions at any point if they felt they had chosen the wrong one.
There are numerous articles produced about what the key trends are for internal communication and what is important for IC pros.
I think the agenda that the participants created yesterday offers the best insight I’ve seen into what are the current hot topics of conversation:
- Social media key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Measurement – from hits to habits
- Creating creative strategy
- Sneakily social/social for leaders
- Blurring the lines between internal and external communication
- How do we evaluate and use feedback
- Changing role of internal comms
- How do you define employee engagement?
- How to communicate with hard to reach employees
- Importance of editorial
- Virtual collaboration
- Hard to reach can do digital too
- Traditional tactics using social approach
- Engaging the senior team to be trusted advisors
- Overcoming cultural differences
- Internal comms in redundancies/economic downturn
- Improving morale quickly
- How IC leaders can improve their comms
- How to win more budget
- Pension Auto-enrolment
- Internal social/digital – a weight around our necks?
If you weren’t there are you surprised by those topics or do they fit with your thinking?
It’s been invaluable to hear feedback from people who attended, and we are capturing those thoughts to help us shape any future gatherings of the crowd, do Tweet us @theICcrowd, contact me to share your thoughts or complete our survey:
Various members of the crowd who came along have started to write blog posts and you can see a list of those articles via @theICcrowd blog including my photo set on Flickr.
Huge thank you to everyone who came to the big yak, supported us from afar and sent messages of encouragement. It’s been a real learning experience for me to organise and host an event like this, it was a pleasure to do and to work alongside Jenni and Dana.
I know it’s not the end of the various conversations, but merely the start. I am proud to be an internal comms professional and yesterday reinforced this feeling.
Post author: Rachel Miller.