Category Archives: Guest posts

IABC International Executive Board – Applications Now Open

I want you to consider stepping up to serve the profession – by taking a leadership role at the highest strategic level.

I’d like you to consider taking a seat at the table. In the IABC boardroom.

Why?

At IABC we believe in a global standard for professional communication; one that is open, one that knows no borders. Our work is more important today than ever – and the next board year is a crucial one: it’ll see the kick-off of our next three-year strategy.

But I have to be honest with you: serving at this level is demanding, yet that has never put the best people off. It is an opportunity to join our skilled, diverse and gender-balanced board. Supported by a small cohort of full time staff at the International Headquarters, this group is responsible for the effective management and leadership of your Association on both the strategic and executive level.

IABC is now looking for applicants to serve on the 2017-18 International Executive Board, including for the role of Vice Chair.  Applications close on Wednesday, January 11th.

It’s excellent experience that will benefit you in your career. It’ll provide you with invaluable insight into the strategy and operation of a global organisation. You’ll make life-long friends too. I certainly have.

How

To apply, visit the IABC website now and find out more about the process and requirements. Again, applications must be in by Wednesday, January 11th

If you have any question about serving on the IEB, please reach out to current Board members, any of whom will be pleased to give you insights into the challenges and rewards of the role.

And please help spread the word about this opportunity. Here’s your hashtag: #IABCieb.

Thanks for all you do to advance professional communication around the world – and thanks for your continued support of IABC.

Michael Ambjorn
IABC Nominating Committee

Leading the profession on the certification journey

Guest post by Neil Griffiths, ABC, Chart.PR

Neil Griffiths, ABC
Neil Griffiths

Some time has passed since IABC first embarked on the journey towards a new global credential for communication professionals: the CMP (or Communication Management Professional, for those who are ‘acronymed out’!).

The program is in full swing, with graduates around the globe now able to include these all-important letters after their name. IABC has of course been dedicated to setting a standard for professional communication for decades, most notably with the development of the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation that is still held by hundreds of professionals worldwide. This commitment to setting a global standard for professional communication practice paved the way for the association to enter into the development of the new CMP credential.

So, why is certification the right choice for IABC?

This is a question that came up back in 2013 and people are still asking us. For me this was the result of a number of threads that all became intertwined at the same time. If we cast our minds back to the 2011-14 strategic plan, the IEB sought to align all IABC’s programs in support of communication professionals’ careers. At the same time, the Accreditation Committee had highlighted several key issues for the long-term sustainability of the ABC program. In looking at the various options open to IABC in response to this, certification emerged as an avenue that could meet the association’s needs in many ways:

  • Assessment for certification depends on a body of knowledge for the profession – this could also be a basis for other programs for professional development, awards, etc. and for the association’s content strategy. (This body of knowledge is developed by and with the profession to make sure it represents what we should know and the skills we should have.)
  • Assessment is based on an exam and evaluation is in no way subjective
  • The volunteer commitment to run the program is much less intensive
  • The process around certification (as opposed to accreditation or other similar programs) reduces liability for the association, as it is related only to the body of knowledge
  • The ISO 17024 standard for professional certification programs provides a framework for building the program; meeting this standard sets our program apart from any other in the world

Why does ISO matter?

Once certification was determined to be the right way of moving ahead, IABC had a decision to make: figure this out on our own or follow the international standard for the management of professional certification programs. It chose the latter for a number of reasons:

  • No other communication association has an ISO-standard certification program; this differentiates us from the competition by having a built-in level of credibility
  • As an international association, IABC wanted a truly global credential, not one that only met the standards of one country
  • The ISO guidelines apply to the management of the program and provide quality assurance for the administration and development of the credential. This is critical in showing people, particularly those outside our profession, that all aspects of the program conform to international standards of best practice
  • It provided guidance as to how to establish the program (we didn’t need to figure this out on our own) and would avoid having to retrofit the program later on and make (potentially costly) changes to how the program is administered
  • Recognition of ISO standards in industries and markets across the globe is very high, which would give visibility to our certification program. Many organizations have to meet ISO standards (for compliance with health & safety, for example) and there is increasing interest in setting standards for professions at the ISO level
  • The pursuit of the ISO standard is voluntary and shows IABC’s commitment to meeting the highest possible standards for its certification program

Given that IABC is seeking to establish the value and impact of this important new program, I think that its focus on making it the best it can be from the outset is admirable. It will help build credibility amongst anyone who is trying to learn more about it, not least of which the hiring managers around the world who are going to be curious to know what is behind the new set of letters they are seeing after communication professionals’ names in years to come.

I am honestly thrilled to see the progress that has been made with the certification program and I am impressed with how much it is being embraced by our organization worldwide. This is all thanks to the commitment of the series of IEB members since the journey began, as well as the hundreds of people who have been involved in bringing certification to life. I have been lucky to witness this from the inside, from my time on the Career Roadmap Committee where I saw all the various streams begin to align, and then as part of the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council (where I co-chaired the exam committee). The current GCCC is in the process of developing the next level of exam to bring the designation to an even broader group of professionals. It’s incredible just how far things have come in such a short space of time. Learn more about Certification.

I can vouch for the passion and drive that has been a huge part of realizing IABC’s vision for certification and I am still massively confident in what it will do for IABC, for communication professionals around the world and for raising awareness of what we do to people who are far less familiar than we are. The journey is far from over, but I hope you’ll join us all on it.

Neil is Past Chair of IABC EMENA and has served on numerous IABC committees, notably the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council. Neil is a Regional Leader of the Year and in 2015 received the Rae Hamlin Award for services to professional certification. He is currently Vice Chair of the Program Advisory Committee and will chair the 2018 World Conference in Montreal.

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.

The gender-balanced International Executive Board of IABC

Happy#IWD2016 – and with that, a timely guest post by my board colleague Claudia Vaccarone – please read and share:

Claudia Vaccarone
Claudia Vaccarone

The notion of women quotas for corporate boardrooms still provokes strong reactions among business leaders, voicing fear of sacrificing competence for the sake of quotas.

However, the issue today is not the lack of competent women in business and society, but, rather, granting them access to leadership roles.

Continue reading The gender-balanced International Executive Board of IABC

The Missing Advice to Career Advancement – And How IABC Can Help

Ginger Homan
Ginger Homan

Guest post by IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan ABC:

Much of the career advice we receive is focused on our personal actions – be assertive; promote your personal brand; learn to negotiate; get a mentor; network; speak up; improve your communications skills …

But no matter how close we follow that advice, many can’t break through to top management positions. What is the missing piece?

According to Susan Colantuono, it is business and financial acumen – and the ability to develop strategies based on that knowledge.

As communicators, financials are usually not on our list of fun things to do. As a former chapter president, I know that filling the treasurer role is a challenge – usually requiring arm-twisting and top-notch persuasion skills.

In reality, we should use this position to push outside our comfort zone and learn new skills. Taking on the role of treasurer is not just about paying the bills, it includes:

  • Creating a budget that is aligned with your chapter’s strategic goals
  • Committing to an annual budget planning process
  • Making strategic decisions about what stays in the budget and what needs to be eliminated
  • Determine what tools to use to track the finances
  • Training your board so they understand their role in financial management

Members in your chapter can use this role to increase their business and financial acumen – and to prepare for the next step in their career.

Watch the Ted Talk by Susan Colantuono as she shares the piece of career advice you might not have heard before – then share it with someone you’d like to fill the role of treasurer in your chapter.

Let me know how you get on.

@gingerhoman

Skills, skills, skills…

Stacy Wilson
Stacy Wilson

Guest post from World Conference – aka #IABC16Programme Advisory Committe Chair Stacy Wilson, ABC

Serving as the 2016 IABC Program Advisory Committee (PAC) chair has brought many revelations. One very important one is that being an IABC member and a long-time volunteer is not enough to ensure my place as a speaker.

I’ve submitted to speak to World Conference many times and been refused on numerous occasions; even as I speak frequently for other organizations, chapters and my region. I used to think that my long service in many different roles should have influenced my selection. One of the reasons I agreed to this last-minute assignment was to more fully understand the process. Now I do.

My PAC team – which is a remarkably talented group! – comes from 15 different time zones. There are millennials, mid-career professionals and very senior practitioners. There are people from corporate, consulting, not-for-profits and government. We even have several non-members to help us better understand what brings non-members into the fold.

These are the amazing people who evaluated the nearly 200 submissions received. This week, I’ve fielded many emails from the disappointed speakers who did not receive an invitation to present.

How the process works

Every proposal is submitted online. Prospective speakers are asked to provide session titles, descriptions, value/benefit explanation, along with their biographies, references and supporting documentation that helps us understand their skills as a presenter/instructor. Submitters are asked to consider a variety of concerns, such as theGlobal Standard, Career Paths and the conference theme.

Each submission is reviewed by at least two evaluators. Each is scored based on various elements related to content and presentation skills. Evaluators are able to comment on the submissions they review. Then begins a complicated process of identifying the short list of speakers to invite, considering these elements:

  • Track
  • Session type (e.g., traditional, workshop, IABC talk, speed presentation)
  • Speaker locations
  • Scores and evaluator comments

We also looked at who had spoken at the prior two conferences so as not to repeat too many of the same faces. This is in response to attendees who want to see fresh, new ideas from new faces. If we consider a speaker who has spoken recently, we review recent ratings for that speaker.

If we can’t discern the prospective speaker’s presentation skills, we may follow up with references to understand more about delivery style. Video clips help tremendously here. Only a small fraction of submitters even submitted a video clip. Evaluators often search online for these.

There are always some who decline the invitation, which sends us back to the backup list to fill such gaps. This means that a rude/inappropriate response to the initial decline doesn’t help your case for a secondary invitation. Remember, the speaker slate isn’t done until every speaker is under contract.

What it comes down to

In the end, here are my top take aways from the experience thus far:

  1. Evaluators may not know the prospective speaker personally. Even past chairs and Fellows may not be well recognized for their important role. Being a long-time member and/or volunteer really gives a submitter no edge.
  2. Submitters who do not provide clear demonstration of their speaking skills and ability will suffer lower scores. Slides alone cannot provide evaluators this level of information. Video is the best way, but providing exercises, methodology, handouts, tools, etc., can make up for a lack of video evidence.
  3. A high rating with one topic at the prior year’s conference is no guarantee that your new topic will make it through the PAC process. Last year’s rating is a secondary metric. If a submitter fails to impress with the new topic (e.g., vague description, poor supporting documentation), his/her score will not elevate the proposal to the short list.
  4. Every submitter believes his/her topic is the most important – I always thought this too – and is incredulous when it isn’t picked. What they don’t know is that there may be many other similar presentations submitted. The most competitive tracks areEmployee Engagement and Leadership and Strategy. If you submit in one of these, your chances of getting selected are smaller because these are the tracks with the most submissions.

So what is really important in this process? According to the PAC’s charge, it is these considerations, in this order:

  1. Quality
  2. Content
  3. Global representation

Clearly, many prospective speakers do not understand how to submit a great proposal. I certainly wasn’t submitting the greatest proposals. To support prospective speakers we are going to create a how-to toolkit. This will help anyone submitting put together a great proposal in time for the 2017 call for presentations.

I get it now.

2016 PAC members were not allowed to submit; a change to the PAC terms beginning with this term. There is no bias, no politics involved in speaker selection; it’s been very democratic. The team is trying to deliver the very best in service to the member, the association and the profession.

As the PAC chair, I am not allowed to submit for either 2016 or 2017. But, I can promise you I’ll be ready to submit for 2018, and I’ll use my new-found insights to ensure that my submission wows even the evaluator who has never heard my name!

Pitching for international committees

Guest post from Past Chair Russell Grossman ABC:

PITCHING IN FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEES – BY SEPT 14TH

As Chair of the IABC International ‘Nominations Committee’ one of my responsibilities is to ensure we have a good ‘pipeline of talent’ of leaders coming through our organisation.

I’m also keen to ensure that when people finish their terms of office we don’t just dump them, but ensure we value their talent and experience for as long as they want to offer it.

IABC has lots of committees and task forces within the organisation. Having good people on them is what makes us tick.

So we’re now looking for people to put their hand up to join five of these key bodies at the international level.

This is necessarily a competition, but based on objective assessment of competencies against defined criteria for the job.   It’s not a case of “if your face fits”.

As the Association’s most senior international leader last year, it struck me (and has subsequently struck this year’s Chair, Michael Ambjorn) that the best people didn’t always put themselves forward for the key leadership positions J.

It follows that the reverse is also sometimes true.

So this year we’re trying something new, which is to hold what we’re calling an ‘open call’ for people to join these five IABC committees:

  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Investment Committee
  • Policy Committee
  • Research Committee
  • Editorial Advisory Committee

More detail about all of these committees is linked on the IABC website.

By putting your hat in the ring for these committees you’ll not only be exposed to the communications profession at the international level, you’ll make invaluable connections around the world.  And it could add importantly to your cv.

Yes, you do need to have an aptitude for the subject and yes, you should also be prepared to put in some time, creativity – and obviously – effort.

But the rewards can be huge in terms of meeting new people, gaining new skills…..and then there’s that point about looking good on your cv and on your LinkedIn profile.

You can both nominate someone you think would be great at this (they may not have thought about this themselves) and/or you can nominate yourself.

Deadline for pitching in is Monday, September 14 at 11:59p.m. Pacific Time.

All nominations will be treated confidentially by my Nominating Committee.  You do have to be a member of IABC to apply.

The committee will review all submissions and then submit a list of recommendations to the IABC International Executive Board for approval.

How to apply at https://www.iabc.com/about-us/governance/iabc-committees/

And some of you may find I have nominated you!

Russell Grossman ABC is Past Chair of IABC