On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. Plus, there are comms lessons all around us if we look closely enough. And so, I thought I would begin sharing these lessons more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊
I hope you enjoy volume 03
by Darren Caveney
1. Meeting, chatting and sharing is so important - but is it becoming rarer?
The UnAwards Winners Masterclass in Birmingham was a joy. It’s my favourite learning day of the year - the 120 attendees got to hear the secrets, lessons, mishaps and comms gold behind 13 wins from nine talented presenters. And with £free attendance. Literally priceless.
I made a plea at the start of the Masterclass for attendees to use up the hour-long lunch break to talk to someone new – to share work tales, to exchange contact details. Often this is the best bit of an industry event (I was able to meet new people, I’d chatted to online, in the flesh, which was a great fun)
I even did a little matchmaking of my own, connecting people I though would get along and be useful new contacts.
Seeing those fledging relationships blossom afterwards on Twitter was lovely to see and makes all the work which goes into staging such events absolutely worth it.
I met a lady at one of my in-house training days recently who hadn’t been to a learning and development event in seven (7) years. Gulp. For others at the UnAwards Winners Masterclass was their first training day out of the office in well over a year.
So many industry events and workshops are now well beyond the means of the public sector comms community. I worry for the sector and it’s why I am committed to playing my own small part and making the UnAwards, and the Winners Masterclass, the most accessible learning and development opportunity around.
2. Mental Health Awareness Week and a NEW Twitter Chat
As we enter World Mental Health Awareness Week it’s very timely to reflect on the changes within the comms and PR industry. Barely an event, workshop, or consultancy project I’m involved with goes by without a mention of mental health, and the growing problems of mental ill health in our industry.
This is good and bad.
Bad, for the very obvious reasons. All the latest research paints a picture of a growing problem.
Good, though, because at last it’s become more mainstream as a topic of discussion and with a reducing fear for individuals being labelled negatively for revealing personal mental health issues. This is largely because of a number of brave people across the sectors who have talked openly about mental ill health – both on the effects and the ways to manage it more effectively.
You’ll know your own superb role models with this distinction. For me it was Leanne Ehren, who spoke so passionately and honestly on the subject at the Granicus Digital Engagement event in London last September, who really ratcheted up my awareness and created a personal desire to do more in this area.
Mental ill health is an issue which can hit any of us – none of us are bullet-proof – and it was one of the guiding principles behind creating the not-for-profit, Comms Unplugged event back in 2017. So, I’m really pleased that we’re teaming up with Leanne Ehren to run a Twitter Chat dedicated to the issue on Tuesday 13 May, 8pm – 9pm. Please join in – the hashtag is #MHinComms. More here.
3. My weekly rant: The house buying/selling process in England…
I’m in the process of buying a new house. 11 years after the last time I bought one I was imagining that all sorts of things would have been digitalised, sped up, made more efficient and giving you (and me) – the customer – more control over things.
Think again, buster.
Turns out pretty well nothing has changed.
So, the next time someone from the private sector tells me how inefficient the public sector is I’ll point them towards the house buying process as an example of something which doesn’t appear to have evolved.
Move to Scotland, where they improved the process and laws years ago (whereas in England we still haven’t caught up)
Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd
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image via U.S. National Archives