Opinion: Making Comms child’s play
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing
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By Caroline King, head of communications and engagement, Helena Partnerships
Recently I was asked to chair a conference. Not just any old conference - a conference for Comms people by Comms people. The fab team at @ResourceHousing had a vision and the lovely @AsifChoudry got in touch. The vision was simple - to create an event that doesn't cost the earth, isn't too hard to get to and has an agenda and line up you can't argue with.
I queried why I had been asked to be chair and was told I was one of their Comms “Heroes”. Those guys know how to turn on the charm when it matters that's for sure. A few weeks later we were talking venues, formats and potential speakers. The vision was turning into reality.
So the date of the northern leg is Tuesday 13 May, at the lovely Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. All details for now are being promoted via the dedicated Twitter account @CommsHero.
There's no hard sell, the speakers are all pretty much real people with jobs like you and I.
We want them to share the good, bad and ugly, not just the polished pieces of communications that we all have peeking out of our portfolios (alliteration overload sorry!).
The headline speaker is a bit of a household name actually and to be fair probably hasn't done many stints in a Comms team to my knowledge, but I am sure we can let him off.
It's nationally acclaimed speaker, sales and marketing expert and author of Stickier Marketing, Grant Leboff, who has inspired hundreds of people to explore their boundaries. In fact some of the most active members of the housing Twitterati hold Grant responsible for giving them the social media bug.
Grant has promised to kick proceedings off in his distinctive and borderline disruptive way. His way is one that has people tweeting for their lives and pondering on what he has said weeks after the event.
We won't reveal details of our other speakers just yet because that would be showing off all of our treats at once. I think it's safe to say though that it's a great line up and I think everybody who comes along will have a few new “Comms Heroes” on their wall at the end of the day.
Anyway back to the Comms Hero concept. As soon as the conference was badged in this way my wayward mind shot back to the mid-80s and I smiled fondly at the memories of She-ra, Princess of Power and my love of Thundercats. Some of you will still be with me now, others thinking how old/young is this person?!
I started to think about why I liked those TV superheroes. Having checked them out recently on YouTube I did question my eight-year-old self. These days I am a mother of a very active and imaginative five-year-old boy, so spend a lot of time watching 21st century TV superheroes.
Again far too much fighting, tricks and gadgetry for me but these characters do share some common traits which I guess makes them Comms Heroes in their own right. They treat people fairly and equally. A boy turns into an eight foot monster from one scene to the next and nobody bats an eyelid. One minute they are fighting, the next best friends so I guess they don't hold grudges either. They openly say when they are bored, hungry, tired, angry, scared and happy, demonstrating that honesty and emotional intelligence really is the best policy for a modern day superhero. They also love to explore, learn new tricks and constantly push themselves out of their comfort zone, disregarding all sensible advice and guidelines.
So my challenge to you is - are you a modern day superhero? Do you love to learn? Do you believe that honesty is the best policy? Are you inquisitive and love the thought of absorbing loads of creative yet practical ideas over the course of a fast paced, interactive day?
Of course if you have reached the end of this blog then the answer is YES!! By joining us for the day you will rub shoulders with other comms heroes just like you. We would love to see you there.
Tuesday 13 May, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester M2 3WS
Look out for booking details on #CommsHero or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.