CIPR Inside Conference 2014

We recently had the pleasure of sponsoring the CIPR Inside Conference, one of the leading annual events for internal communication professionals.

This year the event was held at the home of UK and international cricket, the Kia Oval, London. But for us there was not a trusty chap in white to be seen, instead the hallowed grounds were home to 200 or so communicators eager to get involved in the discourse around the theme of this year’s event: Changing Behavior for Better Business, a focus that promised to look at how internal communication can impact behavior, what different organisations do to make a difference and exploring how this is measured to show real value to businesses.

As an official sponsor we were present with our trusty road show, complete with wishing well, to be on hand all day to share our own take on the subject, namely our experiences in applying creative thinking to the behavioral change issue.

Our focus over this last year has been based around the importance of storytelling in getting a message across to an audience but for this conference we wanted to draw attention to a specific within that, namely the importance of keeping the moral of the story in mind, otherwise why should we all bother telling a good story in the first place?

(You can read our full blog on Storytelling here and The Moral here)

The agenda of the day was filled with presentations from a wide variety of speakers, all proven leaders in the field, coming together to share their experiences in implementation of behavioral change in their respective businesses. It was a privilege to be able to attend a number of these informative and engaging lectures. 

Our part in proceedings was more informal although nonetheless informative. We had the pleasure of welcoming visitors to our stand in the breaks between sessions. As a creative agency we are very well placed to observe the inner functioning of many different types of organizations and this event was no exception. Across the board, our conversations uncovered the fact that whilst individual challenges were different in nature a universal problem was how to engage a workforce enough to be able to attempt a change in behavior when time and budgets are constrained, most probably because the value of IC is perhaps not fully understood.

As is usual with these events proceedings were over way too quickly but the effect has been lasting. Other blogs have covered the content of the all the sessions so we won’t go into detail here but for us the content of these talks highlighted 5 key points that should be kept in mind before we all embark on our next projects. These are as follows:

• Always consider the story you want to tell

• Collaboration is the key to good communication

• Always strive to measure effectiveness

• Listening to the needs of your audience

• Remember that everybody’s perception will be different

We believe now more than ever that the intention of internal communication is very much like the intention of the original fairy tales, if nothing else it is a pedagogical exercise with one aim - to always improve a given situation.

Before we can get to that point however it is also part of our role to make it understood that IC is what bonds the ideals of the organisation with the realities of the needs of its staff. Behavioral change can be rationalised all we like, we can collaborate with others all the time, we can listen until we are blue in the face and we can ensure that we measure every bit of the above but it all becomes irrelevant if the reason why it is necessary isn't made clear.