Managing Communications Efficiently

Join us on Thursday March 26, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.
American University of Paris, Combes Buiilding Room C-102 6 ave Colonel Combes Paris 75007

Russell Grossman will speak on how to efficiently manage communications across various units. Russell Grossman is the Communications Director for the UK Government’s Department for Business.
More to come soon!

Speed networking: the elevator pitch

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Whether you are a consultant, a professional in career transition, a job seeker or a student, the elevator pitch is your personal 60-second storytelling commercial. Join other professionals in practicing and perfecting your elevator pitch in different situations in a fun and dynamic speed networking session led by Bernadette Martin, Brand Strategist and Founder of Visibility Branding. The packed agenda will kick off with networking tips and tools followed by your chance to practice numerous times your pitch AND get feedback. Plan on a fun, entertaining and informative evening. Refreshments served.

Billetterie Weezevent“>Sign up now!

Win a scholarship! Attend Eurocomm 2015

Attention members! To prospects or lapsed members here’s a good reason to join! A fabulous opportunity awaits you!

IABC is offering three Scholarships to attend the EuroComm conference in London.

To be eligible, please apply to our vice president, Sean Ryan, ryan_sean@hotmail.com, by February 28, stating:

Your full name, email and contact number, and if you have volunteered in any capacity with IABC France, including a short write-up or video clip, providing
1) Your top 3 learning objectives for attending EuroComm
2) How you will know if you’ve met your objectives (your measure of learning)
3) How you hope to apply and share the lessons gained with IABC France upon your return

From Ireland to Russia – IABC Chapter Leaders Meet

Every two years, the IABC EMENA (International Association of Business Communicators; Europe, Middle East, North Africa) regional board and chapter leaders get together for an extended regional leadership meeting to discuss and align on purpose and priorities for the coming years, as well as to share leadership insights. It’s called the IABC EMENA Leadership Institute (LI).The most recent meeting took place November 2-3, 2014.
The IABC EMENA LI is a rare opportunity for chapter leaders to meet and share best practices and opinions about the future of our organization. The IABC France Chapter was represented by Eileen Lee Lavergne (IABC France chapter president), Sean Ryan (president elect), Kasha Dougall (membership) and myself, Tom Scott (treasurer). Here are some of my thoughts from the Leadership Institute.

Use a customer centric approach to members
First, we listened to the expectations of our customer,represented by Lucas Vos, the CEO of Flora Holland. “I believe this ‘customer-first’ approach is something all professional communicators should keep in mind when preparing any kind of communication strategy,” said Vos. “It is just common sense but unfortunately sometimes we get caught up in tactics .”
Vos told us that a communication professional should know enough about human psychology to be able to create the perfect recipe to help accompany the permanent change that every organization is now undergoing.

As a support function, Vos added, most companies or CEOs would say communication is important. For the rest of the organization it is probably undervalued. He also told us something I have struggled with throughout my career – everyone in the organization thinks they know how it should be done – but the professional communicator adds that ‘secret sauce’ that I would call empathy (and that Vos called psychology of the audience). In addition, the pro has her or his toolbox and experience ready to go, saving valuable time in today’s fast-paced organizations.
Klavs Valskov and Ezri Carlebach discussed the future role of communications: what are the trends for in-house teams, where is the portfolio going, and how should the function be measured? Valskov told us that 60 CEOs say leadership is about winning hearts, clarity, conversation, engagement, minds, storytelling and consistency. According to Valskov, our profession does a good job in all of these areas but needs to do a better job bringing insight, data and metrics linked to business value drivers to deliver predictive insights to company leaders.
Carlebach told us he agrees with the quote “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” “Companies spend millions (or billions?) of euros on consultants to build their growth strategy,” he said. But, he wondered, how often do they reflect or try to understand the elements that comprise culture, including attitudes, beliefs, mission and philosophy (which all contribute to creating a successful brand)?
“Doesn’t a company’s culture (and not its strategy) dictate how employees interact with each other and with the company’s customers? “ added Carlebach. “ It seems to me that the culture is as important to a company’s long-term success as is its growth strategy. Of course you need a strategy to maintain success, but it must be consistent with the company’s culture.”

Empower members
In today’s successful organizations, people are “empowered,” he added. “And even though I do not like that buzzword, I do agree with the concept that empowering people (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, etc.) to have dialogues will be the key to success now and in the future. We have a key role to play as facilitators: listening, telling stories with impact, being entrepreneurial and being playful. ”
Highlights that came out of the question-and-answer session:
• As organizations become “flatter” in their hierarchy, leaders need to listen even more to all stakeholders.
• Communicators need to be agile and adaptable, while better marketing their own skills.
• Organizational communication is about dialogue and informal communications.
• Communicators must move from being gatekeepers to facilitators or coaches.
• Communicators need to deliver more strategic insight to help leaders make more informed business decisions.

Next on the agenda was a discussion of IABC’s present and future, and of IABC EMENA in particular.
Michael Nord, EMENA chair, gave us a regional update. The general preoccupation is: how can we better deliver value? What is the IABC value proposition and our position in the market place? For me personally, it is all about being international and connecting with colleagues.
Steve Seager suggested that our value proposition needs to be promoted more clearly, especially as IABC competes in many countries with country-specific communication associations. I think this is particularly true for France where, for example, the Association Française Communication Interne (AFCI) is very strong.
We spent some time discussing how the different chapters could work better together as we all have similar challenges, devoting the second part of the session to finding ways to share ideas and best practices.

Workshops to enhance chapter leadership
Finally, there were three workshops: managing chapters more efficiently; differentiating from competition; and motivating membership.
We are all volunteers with day jobs so managing a chapter in the most efficient way possible is critical to success. In general, we need more participation and less management. I believe we (the France Chapter) are making headway in organizing ourselves into a collaborative leadership structure, although we would like to have more volunteers step forward to help out. Goals need to be realistic and not too ambitious. We need to ensure that there is a way to keep and transfer knowledge as people move on. And, let’s learn from the best practices of others.
I believe that this workshop was most useful in asking how we can have a direct impact on acquiring and retaining members. What is our value proposition? What differentiates us as an organization? For IABC France, I believe that as a brand, we are both international and local and more like a family than a club. Part of our growth strategy moving forward must be rooted in clearly defining and communicating in a convincing manner just what makes us different.
We discussed how we could better motivate members. The personal touch is very important in an organization that is as small as ours. Let’s feature new members, have a mentor system in place, share projects, get more volunteers involved, reward and recognize volunteers, and bring more visibility to what we do.
After the Leadership Institute, I asked Sean Ryan what he thought about the event and he said:
“The EMENA Leadership Institute brought together 30 leaders from across Europe spanning at least 15 different nationalities. It was a great opportunity to learn what is happening in other chapters, share ideas and best practices, and to see how we can collaborate.”
“While each chapter has its own challenges I found that France is doing well when we are benchmarked to them,” he continued. “We can certainly learn from their experiences. I was delighted to learn that we can also draw upon the regional resources to invite well-known IABC speakers to France.”

Speednetworking elevator pitch evening: February 12

Whether you are a consultant, a professional in career transition, a job seeker or a student, the elevator pitch is your personal 60-second storytelling commercial. Join other professionals in practicing and perfecting your elevator pitch in different situations in a fun and dynamic speed networking session led by Bernadette Martin, Brand Strategist and Founder of Visibility Branding. The packed agenda will kick off with networking tips and tools followed by your chance to practice numerous times your pitch AND get feedback. Plan on a fun, entertaining and informative evening. Refreshments served.

You’ll learn, listen and laugh.

Date Thursday, February 12
Time 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Place American University of Paris, Room C-102 Combes Building 6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris
M° Invalides, Alma Marceau
RER Invalides, Pont de l’Alma

Billetterie Weezevent“>Register now!