Monika Lancucki reflects on another exceptional IABC World Conference.
Punters and pundits, mavens and mavericks, tacticians and technicians: there was something for everyone at this year’s IABC World Conference in San Francisco. Any event that starts with an instructional session on how to be “fascinating” is either going soar to great heights or tank in the most unceremonious fashion. I’m pleased to report that this year’s world conference fell firmly in the ranks of the former.
With a stellar cast of keynote speakers – culminating in the highly instructional (and by his own admission tactical) Guy Kawasaki – and a range of session formats including: workshops, split sessions, 10 minute speed-dating-like tasters and Ezri Carlebach’s Rapido closer, the conference catered for a range of interests, appetites for knowledge and concentration spans. What struck me this year was the ability of the presenters, without exception, to cater for all in the audience regardless of their level of expertise – dialling it up where there were more sophisticated levels of understanding but keeping the core presentations simple enough for all to derive value. It’s no art to make the simple complex, but to make the complex simple? That takes real skill.
If you have the fortune to attend an IABC World Conference, I urge you to remember that the value of it will, to a considerable extent, depend on the amount you are willing to engage and invest. The speakers are accessible – but yes you do need to go up and introduce yourself and open up a conversation. The other delegates are a fascinating bunch but again, to exchange ideas, you need to have a conversation.
Everyone who goes to World Conference will have a different list of highlights. As a taster, I will share with you some of mine:
1. A deeply personal and moving crisis management panel reflecting on the lessons of the Boston Marathon Bombing – from those dealing with it at the frontline: the police, the hospital and an eyewitness.
2. An overview of current trends in sustainability reporting – followed by a robust discussion about the relative merits and challenges of various potential frameworks and approaches by those in the room. Markets represented include South Africa, Continental Europe, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – all of which have varying and different approaches to sustainability and so make for an interesting exchange of ideas.
3. The chance to road test a new crisis management simulation tool from CS&A.
4. Guy Kawasaki – full of practical tips that had everyone checking and “fixing” their various social media profiles.
5. Some great case studies including a deeply engaging workplace safety campaign from New Zealand with great outcomes and a clever and inexpensive awareness raising campaign by a not-for-profit from Canada.
6. The opportunity to catch up with and exchange ideas and business opportunities with members from around the globe – many of whom I met at previous conferences and with whom I keep in touch online.
7. Meet and spend time with new and interesting people, including my counterparts from customers of our company, some of our IABC Victoria Gold Quill winners, and the new guard of leadership within the global association.
As always the social calendar was busy and engaging with social/networking events each evening and the Gold Quill gala on the Monday night. This year the gala drew a record crowd with more than 500 people attending. It was great to see IABC Victoria well represented and the efforts of our members acknowledged and recognised in both the Gold Quill recipients and leadership awards.
For those after a more comprehensive overview do take a look at the conference page on Storify. If you like what you see I urge you to consider joining us in New Orleans in 2016 – and entering Gold Quills of course, which will give you added reason to go. Keep an eye out for the IABC Victoria Annual Gold Quill round table coming up later this year.
Paul Edwards and Andrew Cornell of ANZ and with Sonia Ball and Jessamy Malcolm Cowper of ANZ New Zealand. ANZ won Gold Quill Awards in Multi-Audience Communications in both Australia and New Zealand.
Zora Artis celebrating her Chairman’s Award with Claudia Vaccarone (IEB Director), Michael Ambjorn (IEB Chair and Director), Maria Constantinescu (IABC Montreal) and Michael Nord (IABC EMENA region).
The image at the top of the page is a mural at The Mission, San Francisco.