On Friday IC legend Bill Quirke headlined the Institute of Internal Communication’s annual conference.
Ten years on from his popular Making the Connections book, he shared how IC has evolved over the past decade and challenged practitioners. If you don’t have his book, I thoroughly recommend it.
If you missed the conference you’re in luck as Jess Roberts is back to share her thoughts on day two. You can find Jess on Twitter @JessRoberts_82.
Jess is Communications Manager at Newport City Homes – the largest social housing provider in the city of Newport. She started out in fashion journalism where she first experienced communications and PR. She did a short stint in a London agency and then moved in-house within the public and third sector.
As an IC pro, Jess sees her role as one of enabling meaningful conversations within organisations so that employees are well-informed and feel valued, resulting in highly engaged, high-performing people.
Further reading: Three things you need to know from IoIC Live 2018 – day one.
Three things you need to know from IoIC Live 2018 – day two
Day two at IoIC Live 2018 was just as strong as day one. It seems only right to congratulate the organisers here for such a stellar line up. Thanks all.
— Jessica Roberts (@JessRoberts_82) May 11, 2018
Before you go on to read my headlines from each of the speakers, I wanted to give you a little bit more. Kind of like a ‘behind the scenes’ for those who couldn’t be there in person.
Firstly, I wanted to thank Amanda Coleman @amandacomms from Greater Manchester Police for sharing her experiences of dealing with the aftermath of the Manchester Arena terror attack last year. I could feel the emotion in the room.
As we sat and listened, there was a sense of overwhelming admiration for all those who responded so quickly and selflessly to help those affected by the tragic events. Inspiring!
Moving on to the keynote speech from Bill Quirke. You know that thing when they say you should never meet your heroes? Ignore it. Meet this IC hero. He’s absolutely hilarious and had the room guffawing throughout his session.
Now to the top three headlines from each of the speakers:
Founder of Repute Associates
Reputation: the minefield for communicators
- We live in a reputation economy where the perceptions of others matter. We are constantly being judged and the stakes have never been higher. Reputation is based on a combination of things: behaviours; what we’re good at; and why we do what we do.
- Reputation is a slippery beast. We need to get a sense of what it means. A definition of reputation: The holistic perceptions of the behaviours, competencies and values of a company, held by one or more influential stakeholder audiences. Each of the elements that make up reputation must align otherwise you’ll find an integrity gap.
- Reputation is owned by stakeholders, not by the company; however companies can actively manage elements of their reputation to become meaningful, relevant and positive in the eyes of their stakeholders. Think strategically. Look at long-term trends not just day-to-day sentiment.
MD at Synopsis (and all-round IC genius)
Keynote session – 10 years on is IC still making the connections?
— Kate Jones FIIC (@how_IC_it) May 11, 2018
- Now is a great time to be in internal communications. It has more recognition as a strategic function than ever before. But now you have your seat at the table, are you able? Are you clear on what you want? What does your CEO want? Is there a gap? Why?
- Life is moving too fast to rely on the inadequate way we currently communicate in organisations. As life becomes more complicated, communicators will become more vital. The challenge is greater now.
- Internal communicators are nice people. We’re empathetic, enthusiastic and we protect relationships. We need to do more to increase our influence (see slide).
Director of Communications, Lloyds Commercial Banking
Strengthening reputation from the inside
— Justine Stevenson (@jusstevenson) May 11, 2018
— Institute of IC (@IoICNews) May 11, 2018
- The difference is people – as an IC pro, your role is to unlock the potential of your people. If morale is low, find out why. Get your leaders out talking to people and listen. Really listen. It doesn’t have to be polished, or cost money. It just has to be genuine.
- Don’t spin a better story, be a better company – you have three options when things go wrong: you can run and hide; you can blame someone else; or you take responsibility and hold your hands up.
- Koalas versus raccoons – Koalas are real specialists. For example, they only eat eucalyptus leaves. Raccoons are generalists. They can eat lots of different foods and live in different environments. Do you need koalas or raccoons in your team? Answer: You need BOTH. It’s important to broaden your skills but you also need to have a deep specialism.
Head of Communications, Greater Manchester Police
The darkest day: keeping colleagues at the heart of your communication response
Thanks to #Ioiclive18 for inviting me to speak and making me feel very welcome. It was more emotional than I expected and made me reflect on the important role of leaders
— Amanda Coleman (@amandacomms) May 11, 2018
- Never forget the role we play is about people. They have to be at the heart. Even more so during a crisis. This will mean different things at different points of a crisis but ultimately it’s about compassion and human stories.
- Don’t wait until a crisis hits to have your crisis comms plan in place. Make sure you know what will happen, when and how. What is your sign-off process for releasing information? Who are you going to for decision-making? Which of your stakeholders do you share information with first? Hint: your people.
- You can go into autopilot when dealing with a crisis. Make sure you take care of yourself and your team. Support your colleagues. It’s okay not to be okay and we need to be open about having these conversations in the workplace.
If you didn’t get to IoIC Live this year, I hope this round-up gave you a sense of what went on. Maybe I’ll see you there in 2019.
Post author: Jess Roberts.
Thank you very much Jess.
What did you think of the conference if you went? As ever you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
Further reading on the All Things IC blog
- New IoIC Masters in Internal Communication degree goes live
- Calling all new IC pros – new FutureNet initiative from IoIC
Want to know more about internal communication?
I’d love you to join me at my upcoming Masterclasses. See the website to explore what’s on and book your place. IoIC and CIPR members save 20% and earn CPD from my courses. You can also work with me 1-2-1 or as a team.
First published on the All Things IC blog 13 May 2018.