If it’s passed you by a special new event – Comms Unplugged – will take place in Dorset in September. Should you be there? Err, yeah - of course you should. Here are seven very good reasons why…
by Darren Caveney
I'm very, very fortunate that in my creative communications consultancy I am able to choose to allocate 10% of my time to working for £free on things I am passionate about or I feel could be of benefit to us in the comms community.
So when Comms Unplugged emerged a few short weeks ago I decided that it ticked both of these boxes with a big fat marker pen. I’m delighted to be a part of Team Comms Unplugged. It’s both fun and inspiring. And I get to work with some brilliant people on an event that I don’t think we’ve seen the likes of before.
72 days to create, launch and deliver a large and unique event like this is ambitious to say the least. But we can do pretty much anything when we throw ourselves into things.
There are a million reasons why I think the comms community from across all sectors should make their way to Dorset in September.
But here are my top seven...
1. Getting away from tech, wifi, social and email
To be honest this is enough of a reason on its own.
I went offline for 10 days earlier in the year, and bored anyone who would listen with my magnificent achievements. But the truth is I have now slipped fully back into the bad old ways. So we need to keep on working on getting the balance right and taking time offline in order to gain the multiple benefits on tap when we do so. There is deliberately no signal or wifi at Comms Unplugged – so that’s as good a place as any to put this into practice.
2. Stepping out of our comfort zones
Most of us get comfy in our own comfort zones. That’s normal. But taking a step outside – literally – is a good thing every now and again. Camping and learning in the great outdoors will be a step outside of comfort zones for many of you and for me too – I was seven the last time I went camping, I don’t yet own a tent and I can confidently say that as a true city kid I have pretty well no outdoor skills.
If you really don't like the idea of camping you can go down the glamping route and hire a very swish lodge for three nights (we have even negotiated a 10% discount for you) Obviously, it’s more expensive but you could split the costs with friends and colleagues. More on the lodges here.
3. Learning new skills
In the great Dorset outdoors you’ll listen to and learn from an exciting range of speakers - from inspiring entrepreneurs through to the most senior communicator in the NHS
You might even learn how to put up (and take down) a tent or toast a marshmallow.
You can read all about the fantastic Unplugged line-up and activities here.
4. Working differently
Not all work events have to take place in conference rooms and event suites. It's in our gift to do things differently. So we should and we are. We’re creative communicators, after all.
You'll be working and learning with nature - deer, rabbits, barn owls – all around. Just imagine how creative you could be there…
5. Ticking the credibility box
Some of our speakers are from with the communications industry. And some are not. One thing is for sure you’ll never have heard most of them speak. They are all hugely credible and we’ll learn from them all.
Oh and if you’re CIPR registered you can claim 10 CPD points for attending Comms Unplugged.
6. Wellbeing. We all need to take it more seriously
Organisations talk about wellbeing a lot in my experience but it's rarely practised from what I know, see and hear. As a profession we need to address this and move it up the agenda. Perhaps it’s time we individually took more charge of our own wellbeing because chances are no one else will.
So from pilates to woodland walks, and to Fresh Air Fridays to yoga, Comms Unplugged will offer a range of activities aimed at putting you first and teaching you how to better take care of your own wellbeing.
7. Meet 100+ new people
One of the great pleasures of escaping the office for a day is the chance to talk to colleagues and make new connections. So much can be achieved when we expand our own networks – Comms Unplugged is a living example of this.
Sat in a field in beautiful Dorset chatting about the things which keep you awake at night, your big career decisions, the difficulties you have at work, an idea for a new campaign or a hundred other things. This is a chance to connect and learn on a much bigger scale than probably anything any of us have been involved in before.
If those seven reasons don't float your boat then how about eating amazing local food, listening to live music, a cool pop-up bar and atmospheric camp fires under the Dorset skies for a night or two?
We’ll also raise money for two great local charities and the prizes are pretty amazing.
Ticket news will be announced in the next few days so make sure you’re registered with us to be the first to hear how and where tickets will go on sale. And check out http://www.commsunplugged.co.uk/and follow @CommsUnplugged for the latest updates.
Comms Unplugged is more experience than event and a retreat for comms people. Chat, listen and learn away from wifi and tech. With live music, food and an overnighter in a beautiful campsite in Dorset.
It’s not for profit and created by comms people, for comms people.
Darren Caveney is a co-organiser of Comms Unplugged, creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd
image via The University of Washington