Be Heard Blog

Professional Development Highlights: The International Association of Business Communicators World Conference

09 Aug 2012, by IABC Webmaster in Be Heard Blog, IABC/SD News

Be exceptional. As communicators, what does it mean to “be exceptional”? I kept thinking about this question as I flipped through the program before the first day of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) World Conference. What I learned during this three-day conference in Chicago that “being exceptional” is a call to get back to our communication roots. Good communication doesn’t happen overnight and isn’t overly successful when rushed (darn those short-fused client deadlines!). We have a duty to share the communication responsibility – to be a catalyst for creativity, authenticity and storytelling.

The opening address by Kevin Carroll, founder of The Katalyst Consultancy, connected these thoughts by sharing his life story authentically and creatively. He described his philosophy on how “we all speak ball,” meaning everyone knows how to play and this can be a connection to creativity and communication. Hmmm…this thought carried with me into the next few days of networking and learning and was tied up with a nice bow during the closing.

Lyn Heward, creative director for Cirque du Soleil, wove her seven ideas on sparking creativity through a colorful narrative on the history of Cirque shows and the creative responsibility of everyone during the closing address. “[We all have] responsibility to bring out the best in everyone,” says Heward. “Complacency is the biggest risk with no returns.”

I attended a number of compelling breakout session in between the opening and closing addresses. Booz Allen Hamilton’s Tim Tinker presented on crisis communication, he said, “It’s not just communication. It’s connection.” That’s exactly what communicators provide – connection – to each other, to creativity, to catalytic ideas.

We have a responsibility to go beyond communications work, stretching ourselves by seeking professional development and networking. It’s valuable to us and it’s valuable to our profession.

I urge each of you to channel your creativity, storytelling capability and desire to be authentic. It’s just another way we can make ourselves successful.

By: Meghan Umphres