All posts by Michael Ambjorn

Michael is Past Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators. He is also founder of Align Your Org where – with a participation-centric approach – he and his colleagues enable effective strategic planning, communication – and clarity of execution. He has held leadership roles at IBM, Motorola and the 260–year–old Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. A consummate connector, speaker, facilitator - and mentor - he is also active in a number of further networks. You can follow him @michaelambjorn

#FutureFitComms – the follow-up

Big thanks to conference producer Kirsty Brown who helped pull this together – and the IABC UK board (especially Casilda Malagon) for putting this event on. 


RESOURCES, ADVICE AND QUOTES

** If we’ve missed something above (or below), be sure to share it now using #FutureFitComms **

RESOURCES

Find more useful resources on this IABC Extreme Reading / Listening List as collated by your international peers.

ADVICE

At the heart of every good comms strategy…

  • Use of rigour and a systematic approach to answer – ‘on what basis do you know what you know?’
  • Communications sharpens the organisation’s mission. Make sure your comms strategy / plan is rigorously aligned to the leaders’ strategy.
  • Focus on business objectives or how communications makes the business more professional, rather than delivery.
  • Employ strategic planning that incorporates insights from staff on what think will work in their context.
  • Professional communicators are / should be trusted advisors. Claim your place!

IABC resources that can help you put the above into practice:

Organisations are about people…

  • Find your soul, humanise your brand.
  • Communicators humanise business.
  • Humanise it!
  • Good conversations with humans – “understanding the soul of the business. Trust and transparency are key.
  • Two-way conversations, through whatever channel it takes. Around the campfire analogy.
  • The growing importance and understanding of how our minds work and how we use that knowledge to improve our ability to understand and influence audiences.
  • Know yourself, know your customer. Required: self discipline!

Making it happen…

  • Know about filter bubbles leading to confirmation bias when reaching people.
  • Working out loud in a network #WOLAN.
  • Use visuals to make the complex simple.
  • Encouraging interactivity across cultures and technologies.
  • Integration of chatbots to interrogate engagement and social discussions.
  • Incentivise collaboration by remembering motivations: reputation; self satisfaction.
  • Don’t just protect a reputation, build a brand (the 3-some thing!)

IABC resources that can help you put the all of the above into practice:

  • Tap into your peers at IABC – attend local and global events (we hope to see you at #IABC16 too!).
  • Consider mentoring or apply to become a mentee – learn more here.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

“The future of the future will still contain the past” – Everything But The Girl

PROPOSED NEXT STEPS

  1. Follow the speakers to stay tuned to what they’re up to next.
  2. Share this with a communicator who couldn’t make it but who might find it useful… and if you’re not already an IABCer, why not join now.

Big thanks to all who contributed in-person – and virtually.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

 

 

Future fit communications: Connecting trends, strategies and actions

Never has seeing the bigger picture been so important for communications practitioners. This IABC conference is all about connecting you with the ideas, people and impetus that can help you make a difference back in the business – both immediately and in the long term.

Come and join the debate.

EVENT OVERVIEW

Running on the afternoon of Monday, 16 May 2016, the agenda will be split into four key parts and chaired by Michael Ambjorn, International Chair of IABC.

PART 1: What’s the big idea?

A look at current and emerging societal, technology and economic trends that will have an impact on our lives and businesses over the coming years. Our speakers for this section:

Andy Gibson, Author of A Mind For Business
Matt O’Neill, Managing Director, ModComms Ltd

PART 2: So what if?

A quickfire #Rapido session with 5 speakers each taking 5 minutes (and not a second longer) to share their thoughts on what’s hot, and what’s not, in the future of corporate communications. Curated by the incomparable Ezri Carlebach. Our speakers for this section:

Una O’Sullivan, Head of Internal Communications – Global Financial Services, KPMG
Darren Lilleker, Associate Professor of Political Communication, Bournemouth University
Gay Flashman, Founder & CEO, Formative Content
Lesley Crook, Client Advisor, Enterprise Strategies
Susan Walker, Head, AES Communication Research

PART 3: From talk to walk – what do the big ideas mean to your business?

Michael Ambjorn will lead a reflection on the earlier #Rapido session and a panel-audience discussion of the role communications professionals play in making their organisations future-fit. Our panelists:

Andy Gibson, Author of A Mind For Business
Matt O’Neill, Managing Director, ModComms Ltd
Ashish Babu, Director of Communications – UK & Europe, Tata Consultancy Services
Joanna Osborn, Head of Customer Communications, GE Oil & Gas
Keith Coni, Deputy Director of Capability, Standards & Professional Development, Cabinet Office

PART 4: What next?

A group sharing of key learnings, next-step resources, shared objectives and individual action plans. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and transform the big ideas into a plan that works for you. After the event we will curate and share all of these outputs.

TICKETS AND BOOKING

Book one of the last remaining seats now

The IABC is a not-for-profit organisation. Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to cover the cost of running the event and invested back into future IABC member initiatives.

ABOUT IABC UK

IABC UK is the local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators – the global organisation for people working in business communications. It offers members a global forum to develop professional skills, share knowledge of and develop best practice in communications and to discuss important issues affecting the profession.

PARTNERS

Future Fit Communications is supported by Scarlett Abbott, PitchPack andCommunicate magazine.

To Pro Bono or not Pro Bono? Your questions answered

A few people have enquired via the twittersphere whether IABC might not value business communication after all. The reason? We put out a couple of Pro Bono RFPs (requests for proposals).

First of all the short answer to Alison is: we most definitively respect talent. 

Still, why would a serious global organisation do something like this?

Because we’re trying to do something we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. The operative part in other words is the Pro Bono bit in the RFP.

We connect communicators with a global and local network, career opportunities, resources and knowledge. We’re a practitioner-led non-profit and like all non-profits we rely on the generous support from our community. We regularly draw on 1000+ leaders around the world. Proud practitioners who give their time and talent to advance the profession. 

From time to time this includes project-based pro bono activities: just like lawyers, accountants and other professionals, communicators also sometimes take on pro bono briefs for organisations and causes they support. A recent practical example is the work on our rebrand – a collaboration of and by global practitioners, generously supported by Arcas Advertising.

We welcome the debate – and we’ll do our bit to get it underway at this year’s World Conference. I hope you will join our Foundation event where an expert panel will celebrate the spirit of giving – and also discuss the challenges.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

P.S. If you want to learn more about the rebrand – and the collaboration with Arcas – come this session:

 

Celebrate the spirit of giving at the IABC World Conference

Come celebrate heroes of philanthropy — people who believe communication is a force for good — and the organizations they serve.

IABC Foundation Luncheon, Tuesday, 7 June

At this year’s IABC Foundation luncheon, we will learn from a panel of four.

Innovative giving: Sharing time, knowledge and expertise for the greater good

Learn from the best:

  • Innovative approaches to mobilizing and engaging people around giving
  • How to create meaningful and lasting outcomes
  • Embedding a spirit of giving in organizational cultures and in our lives
  • Exemplify the spirit of giving

Join your peers, along with moderator Geoff Colvin, award-winning broadcaster and author, on an inspirational journey with these esteemed guides. Learn more about the IABC Foundation event.

 

2016 IABC Foundation Panel at #IABC16

With thanks for generous sponsorship by Roche and Genentech.

This event is included with a full conference registration. Additional tickets are available for purchase.

Register today!

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

 

2016 January – March Quarterly Report – In brief

We have just released the most recent quarterly report from IABC.

Read it on iabc.com – or flick through it below.

Headlines in brief:

  • More than 140 leaders from around the world connected at Leadership Institute

  • IABC headquarters move is complete

  • March Member Month a success

  • Panel of C-suite leaders to appear at World Conference

  • Five global locations running the certification exam

  • 2016-2017 IEB slate announced

  • Leanne Joyce named Region Leader of the Year and Sherry Boyd named Chapter Leader of the Year

  • Member wall returning to CW

Thanks to all the hardworking leaders across the world who contributed to this.

Let’s #createconnection like never before.

Michael Ambjorn

IABC announces incoming directors and officers for its 2016-17 International Executive Board

(SAN FRANCISCO) April 18, 2016 — The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has announced its slate of incoming directors and officers for the 2016-17 International Executive Board (IEB).

IABC draws from the best in the communication field to educate, inform and inspire new communication ideas and strategies. As the governing body of IABC, the International Executive Board leads the organization in its mission to set the global standard of excellence for business communication. The 2016-17 board members come from nine countries in four continents, underlining the cultural and professional diversity of IABC and the IEB.

“Challenging times call for people who step up knowing the challenge at hand. Women and men who are collaborative, accessible, open and professional. Strategic advisors who bring leadership, global perspective and business acumen. Leaders who focus on insights and results,” said Michael Ambjorn, current IABC Chairman.

“That’s what makes for a great board. It is with pride, humility and deep thanks that the outgoing board will hand the baton to Dianne Chase and her incoming board this June. A board that is set to continue to draw on that skill set – and continue to deliver on the 2014-17 strategy. A particularly exciting part of that will be the work to explore where IABC needs to be in 2020.”

The IEB selection process follows a rigorous, competency-based selection approach emphasizing leadership, problem-solving, global perspective, strategic thinking and business acumen.

IABC will ratify the slate at its 2016 Annual General meeting Saturday, June 4, 2016 during the IABC Word Conference in New Orleans.

The incoming Chair for the 2016-17 IEB is Dianne Chase of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

Returning directors are Claudia Vaccarone, Ron Fuchs APR, Alain Legault, Shannon Frederick ABC and Olivia Gadd.

The 2016-17 slate for ratification is:

Vice Chair (automatic succession to 2017-18 chair)
Sharon Hunter; Montreal, Québec, Canada

Secretary/Treasurer (one-year term)
Ginger Homan, ABC; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Director (three-year term)
Zora Artis; Melbourne, Australia
Michael Nord; Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Director (one-year term)
Daniel Munslow; Johannesburg, South Africa

Further information on these prospective office holders:

INCOMING VICE CHAIR

Sharon Hunter
Sharon Hunter

Sharon Hunter is a marketing communication consultant with more than 20 years’ experience serving an international clientele with a focus on professional services and training across the private and non-profit sectors. As senior communications advisor for student services at Concordia University, she oversees multi-channel engagement strategies focused on the student experience journey to success. An active volunteer, she supports communication skills and career mentoring initiatives for students and young professionals. Hunter served six years at award-winning IABC/Montreal, was named Chapter Leader of the Year 2013 for her community partnerships work and has served three years as a director-at-large on the IEB – the last two as an Executive
Committee member.

SECRETARY/TREASURER (second consecutive term)

Ginger Homan
Ginger Homan

Ginger Homan, ABC, is founder of Zia Communications, a firm specializing in campaigns to change behaviors, build communities and transform thinking. Her award winning communication model has been used by foundations and corporations to grow brands and align cultures. Ginger served as IABC Secretary/Treasurer on IABC’s 2015- 2016 IEB and is the former director of North America for the IABC Accreditation Committee. Her work has been recognized by the IABC Gold Quill program, the Society of Marketers of Professional Services, the Public Relations Society of America and
American Advertising Awards; she is the recipient of the IABC Tulsa chapter’s John Hartman Professional Communicator of the Year award and served in several roles on her local board including president. She is a recipient of Leadership Tulsa’s Paragon Award for her board service with local nonprofits.

NEW DIRECTORS

Zora Artis
Zora Artis

Zora Artis, GAICD, is the founder and managing director of Zora Artis Consulting in Melbourne, Australia. The firm provides business planning and marketing, brand and communication consultancy services from strategic development and workshop facilitation through to tactical implementation and evaluation to brands and agencies alike. Zora is the current Chair of the IABC Policy Committee, Past President of IABC Victoria, a Gold Quill winner and recipient of the IABC 2015 Chairman’s Award. She has served on a number of not-for-profit boards and committees, and is a Company Directors graduate with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Zora has a Masters of Commerce, a Masters of Marketing and a Bachelor of Business (Tourism).

Michael Nord
Michael Nord

Michael Nord, Principal Consultant with The Fifth Business, lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he advises and steers strategic communications projects in blue-chip companies across the globe. He has previously worked for Philips, Belkin, IAVI, PR-agencies and the Danish Government. Michael was co-founder of the Dutch IABC chapter in 2007 (the year he joined IABC), and is currently immediate-past Chair of the EMENA region. He chaired EuroComm 2015 and is currently working as chair of the Local Advisory Committee for EuroComm 2016. He has served on several World Conference committees, and sits on the taskforce for global sponsorships.

Daniel Munslow
Daniel Munslow

Daniel Munslow heads up the Africa practice of VMA Group – a global recruitment and skills development firm specializing in marketing and communication practitioners. He has 13 years’ experience in business communications and consulting, and has worked across multiple industries in a number of African countries. Areas of expertise include development of internal communication strategies, implementation of internal communication audits, rollout of change management programs, and training of leaders and communicators on communication skills. Daniel is the 2014/16 IABC Africa Regional Chairperson and a judge on the IABC Gold Quills. Daniel speaks at local and international conferences on business communication, and was voted an All Star speaker at the IABC World Conference in 2013. Other senior officers moving into new roles:

INCOMING CHAIR

Dianne Chase
Dianne Chase

Dianne Lynn Chase is senior partner at C4CS, LLC, Leaders in Strategic Communication and Crisis Management, serving client partners from around the world. She oversees development and instruction in crisis communication, planning and management; message development; issues management; and presentation and interviewing skills training for corporate and government clients. She is past chair of the IABC Southern Region, where she’s served five years on the board. She served as vice chair of the 2015 IABC World Conference Program Advisory Committee and as a member of the IABC Brand Taskforce. Chase is also long-standing board member and past two-term president (and first woman to serve in the role) of the Radio-Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas (formerly the Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas). She is the winner of numerous local, state, regional and national broadcast journalism awards.

INCOMING IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR

Michael Ambjorn
Michael Ambjorn

Michael Ambjorn is founder of Align Your Org which helps boards, chief executives and chairs – and the next generation of talent – with effective strategic planning, communication and clarity of execution. As the facilitator for the 2014–17 strategy, he has worked with IABC’s 1000+ leaders to create connection, engagement and alignment. The latter element has been essential for affecting a turnaround and securing sustainable future for the association; a future where IABC can continue to advance the field of professional communications and achieve a multiplier effect through aligned leadership across the globe. Michael previously served as Chair of IABC Europe & Middle East. He has also worked in various management roles at IBM, Motorola and, the 262–year–old Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) in London.

*ABC = Accredited Business Communicator
*APR = Accredited in Public Relations

About the IEB

The International Executive Board is accountable to IABC members and supervises, controls and directs the affairs of the association. It actively pursues the association’s mission and determines its policy within the limits of the law, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation. It upholds the IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators and supervises disbursement of the association’s funds. The International Executive Board develops the strategic plan and direction for the association under the guidance of the association Bylaws approved by the IABC membership.

About IABC

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) enables a global network of communicators working in diverse industries and disciplines to identify, share, and apply the world’s best communication practices. IABC has set the standard for excellence since its founding in 1970. This vibrant association has more than 10,000 members, including senior communications executives from global Fortune 500 companies, multi-national  communications agencies, leading non-profit institutions and universities. IABC serves the collective disciplines of business communication professionals through education offerings, certifications, awards and recognition programs, online resources and Communicators World magazine and through the annual World Conference.

For more information, visit iabc.com

500 Club Members: Support Our Chapters

Guest post by IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan ABC:

The 500 Club was formed at a time when IABC needed additional cash to fund the association. For a limited time, lifetime memberships were made available for $1,000 to the first 500 members to apply.  This one time payment entitled the 500 Club members to all professional member benefits, but still required members to pay their chapter dues.

At Leadership Institute in February, during a finance presentation, I discovered that some of our chapters are struggling because they have 500 Club members who believe the 500 Club exempts them from chapter dues.

Chapter dues are set at the local level and international never discounts these fees – that has always been up to the chapter. So if you are a 500 Club member, please pay your chapter fees when you get a renewal letter in the mail. If you are one of the members who have ignored these notices in the past, reach out to the IABC office to make a payment, or for this year, write a check to your chapter. They need our funding and support to put on local programs.

I’m proud of my membership in the 500 Club and grateful I was able to step up and help the association at a time when it needed funding. But my local chapter has my heart. These are my friends, my colleagues, my family – and the next generation of communicators.

Let’s make sure we are supporting them with our chapter dues.

@gingerhoman

P.S. You may also be interested in my earlier post on how dues are invested.

Inspiration: #myIABC

Picking up on the fresh research from the 2016 IABC Leadership Institute, here’s a fresh challenge for the top performers out there.

You know who you are. Keep reading.

We just closed Member Month and it was a real success. You’ve been out there inspiring people like never before. You’ve extended the depth, breadth and impact of our shared work. Our shared work to advance careers and the profession. Thank you.

Now’s the time to gather that energy. Whilst it is fresh.

Bottle it so we can all use it again and again.

How you ask? Well, the good people at IABC UK have an idea… so here is your challenge for April.

#myIABC 

Continue reading Inspiration: #myIABC

Make it count

Both the main IABC World Conference, 5–8 June 2016, and the pre-conference workshops, 5 June, will help you meet the application requirements for Communication Management Professional (CMP) certification. And if you already have your CMP (through the Global Communication Certification Council), those credits will count toward maintaining your certification.

This is the first World Conference where professional development credits can be collected this way. It is an essential part of our strategic commitment to certification—and to lifelong learning opportunities.

See you at #IABC16!

Let’s #createconnection – like never before.

Michael Ambjorn
@michaelambjorn

P.S. Here’s how you earn points and hours.

How Membership Dues Are Invested

At some point we’ve all wondered how our membership dues are spent. In this post IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan ABC, sets it all out.

Chapters & Regions

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Ginger Homan

First of all, member dues are compiled from Chapter, Region and International dues. Chapters and Regions determine their fees — some Chapters charge $70, however in many cases it is more like $40. Some Chapters choose to not charge any dues at all. Regions dues range from $25-$90.

These dues are invested by your local and regional leaders in professional development, networking events etc. Speak to your local and regional Treasurer if you want to know more – and consider stepping up – it is a role that can really help you advance.

2016 IABC Who Does What
Who Does What

International

Dues to International is just one of several revenue streams to support work at the international level — 52 percent of the annual revenue; the largest single item. Next in line as sources of revenue are World Conference, Gold Quill and the Job Centre.

Some programs generate revenues, but not a cash return. These include professional development and certification. These two flagships from the 2011-14 strategy are still in the phase where they require significant investment to help them take off. They are expected to start generating a surplus in the coming years, which can then be reinvested.

You can play a part here: step up and serve one of the 22 international committees that advance this work.

Investing in our leaders and our members

Leadership Institute, chapter relations etc. are investments in our leaders. Whilst a net cost, they have a significant return in the form of impact in line with our Theory of Change.

Communication World is a membership benefit and is not designed to generate a surplus.

 

2016 theory of change circles
IABC’s Theory of Change

 

Investing to advance IABC’s strategy – and the profession

Building on the above, our dues support all IABC programs: those designed to generate a surplus for reinvestment – and those that don’t (but are benefits of membership).

2014 Annual Report Income Expenditure Breakdown donuts
Revenue / Expense breakdown at the International level – look for the next update in the annual report released this June.

Below is a list of the areas on the chart and examples of some of the items that category includes.

  • Professional Development
    • Speakers for webinars
    • Software to support the training program
  • World Conference
    • Facilities, food, beverage, Audio/Visual support
    • Keynote speakers
    • Meeting production
  • Certification
    • Development of the certification program
    • Development and management of the exam
    • Costs of administering the exam
  • Gold Quill
    • Evaluation
    • Banquet
    • Awards
    • Software infrastructure
  • Membership / Chapter Relations
    • Scholarships to Leadership Institute and World Conference
    • Chapter Management Awards
    • Bank fees for processing payments
  • Finance / administration
    • Outside professional services including attorney, auditor, finance and human resources
    • Back office computer software and license fees
    • Depreciation
  • Governance
    • Executive Director travel
    • Board travel subsidy
    • Insurance
  • Information Technology
    • Website and any other software not covered above + hardware
    • Consulting for the website and other software applications

You’ll note that the “Finance/administration” portion is 20 percent of the total investment. The norm for professional associations is 25-30 percent.  The International Executive Board is committed to keeping that number as low as possible.

Balanced Budget

The IABC staff worked hard with the Finance Committee to create a balanced budget moving in to 2016. It is directly aligned to the board’s 2014-17 strategy:

“Financial recovery and sustainability is primary, as is the loyalty and development of our members and leaders and consolidating gains from the 2011-14 strategy. Increased reputation in the profession; better brand positioning; and greater interaction with business as a revenue generator are then the big opportunity to be grasped”.

This budget includes investing in:

  • The development of certification exam for the Strategic Advisor level
  • A Learning Management System, allowing the Academy to offer self-paced classes on IABC.com
  • The Global membership survey to determine what members value most
  • An Association Management System, software needed to improve our membership records and an individual’s experience with IABC

If you have questions about IABC finances, please reach out to the IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan, at ginger [at] ziacommunications.com

You can also find updates in the latest quarterly report. Our annual report that will be issued at the Annual General Meeting at World Conference. We hope to see you there.

Members of Finance Committee

  • Ginger Homan, ABC, IABC Treasurer
  • Michael Ambjorn, IABC Chair
  • Dianne Chase, IABC Vice Chair
  • Victoria Dew
  • Ron Fuchs, APR
  • Alain Legault, MA
  • Carlos Fulcher, MBA, CAE

—-

You can play a part here: step up and serve one of the 22 international committees that advance the work of the association, and the profession. Or consider running for Treasurer of your local chapter or region. It is a role that can really help you advance.