What do #IABC France members think about the future of the comms profession?

My notes from a discussion between IABC France members and global IABC Chair Mark Schumann, ABC.

We started by participants saying what they fear. Some answers:

* Fragmentation
* Noise
* The digital divide
* Not being able to keep up with the pace of change
* The disconnect between demands for instant information and slowish corporate processes

 

The students, trainees and young workers declared that they are ‘not afraid of anything yet’. What an exciting profession we are part of!

 

Mark Schumann thinks that we have bewailed the looming end of our profession at least 6 times during his career:
* desktop publishing
* e-mail
Etc.

Our profession satisfies a hunger for information, connection and exchange. What has changed?

 

WHO – From a select few to everyone being empowered to communicate. WHY – From ‘because we the corporation needs X from our customers, regulators, etc’ to ‘because it’s what our stakeholders want’. WHEN – From periodic and slow to instant and constant. WHERE – From limited points of access to nowhere and everywhere. HOW – From print and media to a multiplication of channels. WHAT – From publicity to delivering engagement with all internal and external publics. We should be CEOs: chief engagement officers. The danger is that if we don’t do it, human resources will. The problem is that HR is too transactional and doesn’t have the holistic vision of the communications profession. We can bring true value by digging out and communicating insights about the organisation. We need to stop thinking about social media as us-to-them and start thinking about it as them-to-us. ‘Social media is the most incredible polling tool that is’.

 

We need to think beyond words and think about the experience we provide. We should be mindful of the subtleties of the experience. It’s a bit like achieving the equivalent of MTV Unplugged. How do we get to the essence of the experience?

 

Don’t think of our profession as a collection of skills, but as a unique way of looking at the world. But what new skills do we need?

* Facilitation
* Coaching
* Influence
* Protection
* Collaboration
* Humility.

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