By Gabrielle Loring
“There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams.” This quote by Ronald Reagan from the Welcome Reception of the 2017 IABC World Conference set the tone for the conference.
Held June 11-14 in Washington, DC, about 1,000 communicators from 36 countries attended. Some of the key themes of the conference included listening/conversations, presentations and technology. Below you’ll find my top nuggets.
“The magic happens with what isn’t said…body language…shift the scales to active listening,” said Mark Jeffries, keynote presenter and author of The Art of Business Seduction. Two easy, nonverbal ways to show active listening:
- Lean forward toward the other person.
- Look at and study someone’s business card for a minute or so.
Jeffries reminded, “Everyone can up their game and communicate better – we are all in sales.”
Keynote presenter Denise Jacobs, author of Banish Your Inner Critic, suggested using improv techniques such as “yes, and…” to help you be a more active listener.
Katie Macaulay, author of From Cascade to Conversation, hit on the value of this crucial skill: “We need to listen to the values of the room [your audience]…those who listen harder are more successful.” She also encouraged us to “be generous with what you know.”
Lastly, Rob Biesenbach, author of Act Like You Mean Business, pushed everyone to reach for the heart. “Get an emotional response: how do you feel about ‘x’?”
Based on Dr. Judith Glaser’s approach, Conversational Intelligence is the hardwired ability to connect, navigate and grow with others. It’s moving from a “tell/ask” conversation to a “share/discover” conversation.
Neuroscience tip: “Focus on inclusion and appreciation to reduce the level of cortisol and increase the levels of oxytocin (bonding),” said Amy Douglas, MSc, CPCC. According to Douglas, the essentials of a conversation are:
- Listening to connect.
- Asking questions for which you have no answers.
- Priming for trust.
- Sustaining conversational agility.
- Double-clicking [asking more questions to make sure you understand].
“Blah, blah, blah, blah. Don’t go through your agenda at the start of your presentation; no one cares,” explained Rob Biesenbach, author of 11 Deadly Presentation Sins. “Delivery, passion and content come through when you don’t use bullets…use images or no slides. Have a conversation.”
Biesenbach added, “No such thing as over-rehearsing so you are connected to the content.”
“Make your event so those who aren’t there are jealous – I want to go…” coached Shel Holtz, Principal at Holtz Communication.
“Make event follow-up part of planning: have a plan for repurposing content, sharing social, event recaps…have a call to action,” suggested Michael Bly, Creative Director at Balihoo Productions.
From guru Shel Holtz, “more and more, people are getting their news on social media. Messaging apps are becoming more prevalent.”
“Think of interactive video as a microsite with user-driven content. Changes a monologue to a dialogue,” said Cyrus Mavalwala, ABC.
Keynote presenter Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications at IBM, on artificial intelligence:
- “We will all become cognitive communicators…we need to embrace new technologies.”
- “Artificial intelligence should be called augmented intelligence – it expands our intelligence.”
- “Thoughtfully applied artificial intelligence is a force for good.”
Mike Radner of Videolicious shared some ways to create effective employee-generated video: use focused messages, sharing stories and event stories.
Great audience tip: Add outtakes from CEO at the end of a video – they’re well-received by employees.
“Banish the inner critic…takes courage,” said Jacobs
“I’M AWESOME = congratulate yourself. Neuroscience proves it helps you get addicted to the habit,” said Jacobs explaining BJ Fogg, PhD’s tiny habits.
Keynote presenter Gabrielle Dolan, author of Stories for Work, on storytelling:
- “Never been a fan of elevator pitches. Rather tell why you do what you do.”
- “Storytelling in business, to succeed, must be congruent with the situation and must be true.”
- “Inspiring storytelling allows you to create a personal, emotional connection and visualize the story – our brains remember visuals.”
- “When we use jargon, we disconnect and isolate people. When we use story, we connect and engage.”
- Dolan encouraged the audience to join her movement and have jargon-free Fridays.
Favorite quotes from the World Conference
- “The kiss of death in change communications is silence. A lack of communication is still communication.” – Sylvia Link MC APR via Twitter.
- “We need to do more than just creating ‘stuff’. Creating value is transformative.” – Sharon Lee via Twitter.
Best moments from World Conference
Presenting my Gold Quill Award case study and receiving two Gold Quill Awards!