There is more published by business communications departments than by all publishers combined, I’d hazard to say. And it’s not all annual reports and white papers. My friends acted like I was being punished when Copyediting sent me to cover the conference of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in Montreal, Canada, this June, but I was excited. I didn’t know what I was in for, precisely, but this group gave the impression of having high-quality and high-concept speakers under a slick presentation. I was not disappointed.
Things that stood out:
- excellent production value
- a keynote or two each day
- 1300 delegates
- most people were not Canadian, despite the location
- people attended from around the entire globe
- only one French session in a French-speaking location
- incredible diversity of companies represented
- flamboyant and friendly people even when they call themselves introverts
- excellent food
- only one vendor offering content creation and quality control (writing and editing)
- everyone wants to write a book, and they were really keen to talk about it
- the conference app for scheduling, feedback, and networking
- diversity continues to be a hot topic this year
- hands-on workshop sessions
- like the editing field: 98% female
- lots of unscheduled time for networking and working (so many laptops out!)
- quick and decisive response to diversity issues raised by delegates in real time
Over the next few posts, I’ll report on some of the particular sessions. Among the 100 or so sessions, there was one session on creativity itself (that nailed it), one on analytics, another on data representation, building credibility in your role, and imagining the wonders of the future.
Who They Are
Communications delegates represented government (e.g., legislature), manufacturing (from mining to pharmaceuticals), technology (from missile guidance to Microsoft), professional associations (e.g., lab technicians and accountants), and so many other surprising niches. As an editor, it’s an eye opener to the breadth and diversity of who our quality assurance skills can be marketed to.
What They Do
The communications delegates do certainly include the annual reports and press releases, but they also include video campaigns for industry awareness, training programs, employee engagement, supporting (and creating) diversity initiatives, training the CEOs to give presentations, and figuring out a better internal email system.
And on that last point in the list above? The IABC leadership pledged in the closing plenary: “No diversity, no panel.” Talk about real-time decisive action when the audience called out a lack of diversity.
For a quick look at what resonated with IABC delegates, search social media for #iabc18, or check the conference website to peruse the speakers and topics. Log in to leave a comment, or join the discussion over on Facebook or Twitter.