IABC Europe & Middle East Leadership Institute 2012: Network, Share & Learn

by Steve Seager

Paris IABC Business Communicators

I’ve just returned from Paris from this year’s IABCEME Leadership Institute – a fabulous event where regional IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) board members meet up to hear from a keynote speaker, network, share experiences and hear the latest marketing and communication best practices.

I’m currently director of comms on the European/Middle East region board. I highly recommend joining us. Here’s why … and just a few of my IABC colleagues I recommend connecting with.

To open your worldview

We are all busy working in our own professions. But the barriers are breaking down fast. Today’s successful strategic communicator has to have knowledge that cuts across all disciplines – even industries. What better way to build that knowledge than by talking one-on-one with those that are doing it every day?

Here in Europe, I have colleagues that work across industries with specialisations in internal communications (Charlotte Butler, Dr. Laoise O’Murchú – congrats on the PhD Laoise!), corporate communications (Ger Peerboom), change communications and strategy (Michael Nord), online strategy, marketing and public affairs (our current Chair Philip Weiss), market research and customer experience (Claudia Vaccarone) – and much more.

Every time we speak, I gain a new insight – whether it’s in the way an industry vertical works, a particular type of organisation works, or even a valuable communications tactic. That’s invaluable, no matter whether you are working as a freelancer looking for work, an employee looking for new approaches, or as a consultant looking for new business opportunities.

To regroup and recharge

We don’t know what we don’t know!Sitting behind a desk fighting our own internal battles really doesn’t give us a true sense of our own value. Sharing war stories with fellow communicators does. The Dutch call it ‘relativeren’. There’s not a direct translation, but it means the ability to get a proper perspective on things.

Swapping which tactics and strategies have worked, and which haven’t, help you ‘relativeren’. Finding that you are actually doing bloody well in a particular area gives you a great boost. Discovering where you are behind gives you a nice reality-check, and a clear focus for the future.

All of this helps you charge your energy for your next big challenge.

To beg, borrow and steal!

At every IABC event I always find discover something useful – a model, framework, tool or process that someone else is using, that I’m not. I then take these away, rethink and remix it towards my own goals. Of course, I share mine too.

All communicators nowadays are in the same boat. We can only improve our own value by sharing, connecting and developing our own skills – in whatever way we can.

Sometimes we need to beg – you will always find someone willing to help you in the IABC. Sometimes we need to borrow – you can always find a useful model or framework. And sometimes we need to steal – well, you know what I mean 🙂

I’ll leave the last word to Philip Weiss our current Chair:


In a sense, you get out, as much as you put in. The learning, networking and understanding you gain is great. If you want to keep your mind open to new ideas and meet colleagues that care about improving our profession’s standards, IABC is a great place to be.

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