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02 November 2005


Elizabeth Albrycht

Niall, I'll agree with your premise that rather than so-called "experts" on this subject (who could possibly be that - there is still FAR to much to learn) we are people who have been trying to figure it out just a little bit longer than everyone else. What I like best about speaking at conferences is the questions people ask. Especially the ones that force you to re-examine your assumptions! I really hope people ask us questions here so we can start that dialogue before the conference even begins.

Marc Wright

Ad campaigns are not the only area of comms that are losing the plot in terms of 'selling ideas' to people. In the world of internal communictions, I have long had a dislike for paying out tens of thousands of dollars on entertainers and excessive gifts and banqueting at a gala dinner at the end of a conference. It feels like the company is saying: "You lucky chosen few who can't usually live like this, we are going to elevate your lifestyle for one night of the year..."

But how does a plate of warm, rubbery duck, a sexist comedian and some one else's taste in music make me want to contribute more next year? I used to hate putting on these events - particularly when I was younger and the choice of music and entertainment was determined by 50 year-old CEOs.

And then I heard about a British Airways sales convention in the States, where instead of spending the money on a slap-up dinner the delegates were given tools and equipment and cash to help rebuild houses in Phoenix following a devastating hurricane.
I was blown away by this idea: create an event that appeals to the highest level of Maslow's hierarchy rather than the lowest. I bet the pizza and beers tasted a lot sweeter than any black tie dinner as they saw the look in the eyes of Rosa Pulido and her young son as they handed over the keys to a new home.

Elizabeth Albrycht

Marc - what a great idea that was! I think more companies need to figure out how to create that kind of positive action/impact in the world.

Kristen E. Sukalac

As one of the people who is hoping to learn a lot from this conference session and having engaged Neville in mental wrestling on the topic, I would just like to say that our intention in setting up the panel was definitely not to have some wise people expounding their wisdom. It is much more, as Elizabeth says, to get insights from people who are early adopters to give the rest of us hints for understanding the relative merits of using these media and the different ways for doing so.

As the IABC Europe and Middle East Region Chair, I felt it was important to include this topic on the agenda, and Neville's idea for the pre-conference blog seemed like the perfect hybridization. As an individual and a professional who works with people in more than 80 countries around the world, I personally am trying to understand what these media can bring to my work. I work for a trade association, not a company, so a lot of the discussions I see about the role of blogs doesn't seem to apply to my reality. We have a lot of members who have very poor connections to the internet and many of the organizations we work with have at best one central connection for the entire office. The issue of who is connected and who is not is a big one for this medium, and one I struggle with. The blog movement is growing, but are bloggers just talking to other bloggers? What about the vast majority of the rest of the world? Again, this is an argument for integration, not a tabla rasa approach.

Kristen E. Sukalac

In Kathy's table, I am very intrigued by the concept of conference scholarships! We've taken note for Eurocomm 2006. Not sure that we could get anything together for this year.

Elizabeth Albrycht

Kristen - one of the dangers of blogging is that it can easily become a big echo chamber. That is why I am so concerned with how we can move from listening and talking, to action (I blogged about that here: http://tinyurl.com/9g8tb)

This ties back to my point elsewhere on this blog about these tools being additive. We can't forget to pay attention to what happens outside the blogosphere, particularly when we are communicating with audiences who are not well connected.

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