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.
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:
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.
In the end, here are my top take aways from the experience thus far:
So what is really important in this process? According to the PAC’s charge, it is these considerations, in this order:
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!
— IABC (@IABC) December 11, 2015
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – recently held its fifth board meeting of this term and here’s a quick recap of what was on the table in addition to the usual reports from the Chair; Vice Chair Dianne Chase (with a specific focus on the work of the Council of Regions (#IABCcor); Financials from Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:
Following on from the discussion at the September board meeting, the board reflected further on the decision to focus more tightly on our core audience at the international level.
Another recommendation that came out of the portfolio review is to bring clearer definition to the value of membership. Now this is of course work that is already well underway in the form of the Membership Task Force, led by Claudia Vaccarone with support from our Director of Membership, Stephanie Doute CAE – and with a strong team of leaders providing input. In parallel, and in order to accelerate this broader work, the board has directed the senior management team to explore how IABC’s website might enable better differentiation of access to content based on whether one is a casual visitor or a full member. The work on further refining and focusing in IABC’s portfolio and the association alignment work will continue meanwhile.
Linked to the above, the board discussed the latest membership figures and Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE reported on the latest work on the iabc.com website which has made joining (and renewing) a smoother experience. Moving IABC’s technology infrastructure into the 21st century after ten years of underinvestment continues to be hard work, but progress is being made. I continue to be in awe of the effort being put in by our hard-working HQ staff – and our leaders in the field – to serve members around the world. Thankyou!
October is an incredible important time for IABC as it is the time of year when many are coming up for renewal. With support from our hard working Director of Global Communication, Melissa Dark ABC, a set of fabulous campaign materials are out there, ready and available for leader use.
I count on you to help create connection and grow the value of our shared network. You can read my full call-to-action here – and I hope you will do your bit to be recognised as a Very Important Communicator (to find out what that entails, you’ll have to read this).
Since the June 2015 report the Academy has progressed significantly.
The Academy identified two subcommittees to provide a focus on
key objectives, as described in the approved Terms of Reference:
a) The curriculum subcommittee, focusing on pedagogy, curriculum and related tasks
b) The strategic plan subcommittee, focusing on strategic planning, branding and policies and procedures for the Academy
Meet the international team behind this here – and also big thanks to Sharon Hunter for her ongoing strategic liaison work with this team.
The board received an encouraging progress report from Stacy Wilson ABC for the 2016 World Conference coming up in New Orleans. Hundreds of applications to speak have been received. The next big challenge is for the super-sized Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) to work through all these applications, using the objective review process and then the creation of the final programme. I am pleased to say that a number of exciting keynotes are also being shortlisted.
The PAC is also working on rethinking the Foundation Luncheon and the Circles of Wisdom.
I am also pleased to report that PAC Vice Chair Sarah McLaughlin is working closely with the leaders of the Gift of Communication as well as liaising closely with the local New Orleans Chapter for support around Dine-Around and more.
People go to World Conference – [and the many Regional Conferences such as those coming up next week: Denver, Baltimore, Calgary, and Rotterdam early next year] – in order to build their communications skills.
Leaders also go to Leadership Institutes. To build their leadership skills. And again, they happen around the world: Minneapolis and Johannesburg earlier in the year, Basel just last week and Sydney in November – to mention a few of the Regionals.
These tend to be smaller and more tightly focused on the unique challenges within a Region – and the board appreciated Dianne Chase’s update from her attendance at the Europe, Middle East and North Africa Leadership Institute in Basel. The board is grateful to the teams who put events like this together (and thanks to IEB colleague Ron Fuchs for hosting). Not to mention all the leaders who turn out to share their ideas, insight and passion. Whilst the market continues to be challenging, it sounds like there is a clear plan in place to face it head-on.
Global leaders also need a global perspective – as good practice knows no borders. To that end IABC leaders from across the globe convene once a year at what we call fondly call #IABCLI. Dianne Chase presented the preliminary programme from the Council of Regions, who oversee this programme with support from Micayala Felicion MBA.
Whether you’ve been to one or not, I hope to see you this coming February in Los Angeles. Please mark your calendar:
One of the cornerstones of the current three-year strategy is increased reputation in the profession and better brand positioning – and one of the routes to achieving this is by stepping up our own practice of communication. Here’s a direct quote from Katie Macaulay‘s report from the Communications Committee to the board – a first sharing of ideas to test the ground:
The next few years can be viewed in two ways – as a struggle for survival in a competitive and demanding marketplace, or as an exciting and unique opportunity.
Membership associations around the world are struggling to remain relevant and commercially viable due to the countless ways professionals can now connect with each other, receive support and promote their disciplines.
However, there is good news. The value of communication – in business and society – has never been better understood.
Communicators are playing an increasingly strategic role inside their organizations as the business community recognizes that success hinges on having a clear, credible and differentiating message.
So, despite a tough market, there has never been a better time to promote our profession and connect with communicators.
To help in this task, we have a new vision for non-member communication – to demonstrate the power of our profession.
The board welcomed the initial thoughts shared and asked Katie to come back to the board following further work by her Committee as well as broader stakeholders. Also big thanks to Ron Fuchs and Melissa Dark ABC for their ongoing liaison work.
At the November meeting, in addition to the Comms Committee returning, the Membership Committee reporting initial findings we will also look at board evaluation.
Before that? Well, a fair number of us are hitting the road next week: Dianne is heading to Calgary for the Canada West conference and Carlos, Ginger and I will be at the Southern Region Conference in Denver. Both Carlos and I will then go onto the Heritage Region conference in Baltimore. I hope to see you there – even if you’re not planning on travelling.
How? Join the next IABC Leadership Forum online. Details here.
Meanwhile, thanks for all you do.
Let’s #createconnection like never before.
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – just closed out its third board meeting of this term and here’s a quick recap of what was on the table in addition to the usual reports from the Chair; Vice Chair Dianne Chase (with a specific focus on the work of the Council of Regions – aka #IABCcor); Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:
I hasten to bring your attention to the opportunity to serve here: are you the next Vice Chair of Awards? You’ll be working with Monika Lancucki ABC who is looking to take the awards work to the next level in line with the board’s priorities for this year.
If you want to see how the Gold Quill framework can be used off-season too, check out this earlier post.
The board also had an update from the IABC Academy – one of the perhaps less exciting roles of the board (yet essential) is reviewing terms of reference to ensure clarity of roles, responsbilities – and ultimately alignment with our purpose, vision, and mission. Big thanks to Academy Chair Theomary Karamanis (and congrats again on the recent move to Cornell) as well as board liaison Sharon Hunter for their work on this with Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE and Ron Hansen, our Education Director on staff. This work forms an essential part of the #IABC1417 strategy, specifically in consolidating gains from the 2011-13 strategy cycle.
Carlos, our Executive Director, took us through the comprehensive report on this year’s World Conference – big thanks goes out to Preston Lewis who chaired the #IABC15 Programme Advisory Committee and helped feed into the analysis work led by Natasha Nicholson, IABC’s Director of Content. All that after they had delivered a successful conference too! ‘No rest …’ as the saying goes.
I’m super excited to be working with Stacy Wilson ABC on #IABC16. We’ve had a tremendous response to the Open Call to serve on the 2016 Programme Advisory Committee. Great to see so many leaders from around the world looking to step up and serve.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to New Orleans.
Here’s a sneak peek – do help spread the word: