July Blog
Networking Made Easy
Isadora Blanche, VP of Events

Isadora BlancheSummer Might Be Cooling Down But Don’t Forget To Keep Your Network HOT!

The summer season can be slow for many industries with associates and clients taking vacations and children being out of school. Some would think that this is an opportunity to take a vacation from networking, but in reality this slow season is the perfect opportunity to heat things up. Utilizing tools to reach out to existing contacts and establish new connections are vital practices in maintaining a current and strong professional network.

Keep your network sizzlin’…

Use Your Bag of Tricks
Summer is filled with more leisure activities and vacations which provide common ground for people to connect. As communicators our lives are becoming more social on a professional and personal level. Employing social media platforms (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) is instrumental in keeping up with connections and opens the door for conversation initiators. Whether it’s traveling, children’s activities or weekend plans, use that knowledge to your advantage to either re-establish a line of communication with an existing contact or initiate a new relationship.

Bridge the Gap
Let’s be honest. Networking is awkward and often filled with the same conversational points. We are all tired of discussing the weather. Seriously. By using your bag of tricks to acquire inside knowledge, you are now equipped with personal information to change the conversation and build more solid connections. Don’t be afraid to have fun with networking while keeping things professional…find common interests and invest in yourself. Your contacts will be able to tell the difference!

Let’s Get Social
Professionals are becoming less focused on the grind and more interested on a frozen drink at the end of the week (with or without the little umbrella). This casual mindset is great for mixers and networking events. People are open and more likely to drop by an after-hours event during the summer season. If you want to minimize your time spent and maximize your connections made, be sure to attend events hosted by a variety of organizations. For example, the IABC mixer in August (wink, wink).

Join IABC Nashville August 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Bar Louie for an after-hours mixer. LEARN MORE. Take a break from your routine, gather with colleagues, and meet other professional communicators working in and around Nashville. Food and cash bar. REGISTER NOW

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Introducing IABC Nashville
2014 Executive Board

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The IABC Nashville Executive Leadership is here to serve you. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can be of service. We welcome communication from our IABC membership or anyone interested in becoming an IABC Nashville member.

President
Julie Davis, Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.

Past President and Senior Delegate
Mike Machak, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

President Elect
Jennifer Fuqua, Meridian Surgical Partners

Secretary
Phil Matisak, ABC, UPS (retired)

Vice President of Finance
Pam Eldridge, Connexon Partners

Vice President of Membership
Misty Moore, Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.

Vice President of Events
Isadora Blanche, Baird

Vice President of Communications
K. Dawn Rutledge, Tennessee State University

Vice President of Professional Development
Jennifer Fuqua, Meridian Surgical Partners

Vice President of Education/Student Chapters
Paul Lindsley, ABC, Sullivan Branding

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June Blog
One Good Measure…
Deserves Another
Philip J. Matisak, ABC

Phil-MatisakAs a long-time IABC member – over 30 years — I’ve reviewed and judged many Communications programs from IABC chapters from all over the continent, and reviewed and graded accreditation portfolios and exams. I’ve had the privilege of a unique view inside many fine organizations and learned much that I could apply to my own organization and career.

But, at times, I continue to be amazed by the number of communications projects that are produced with little thought about results – real impact on an organization’s or customer’s bottom-line results. Often times, a measure of success is simply whether a project was completed on time and/or within budget. While such projects may very well impact business results, without validation of that impact, we miss an opportunity to win continued support and utilization of our efforts. And, we miss the ability to critically analyze and improve the value we can bring to an organization and its success – and ours.

The most important measure of success, measures the impact of our efforts on business goals and objectives – the bottom line. After all, in these days of tight and diminishing budgets, many companies look critically at “nice to” versus “need to.” Without clear links to business results, communications programs are often first to be cut.

In successful organizations, communicators effectively and clearly link their efforts to an organization’s business plan through clear and concise measurement of how those efforts impact that plan’s goals and objectives – and communicate that link to decision makers. Effectively accomplished, they often become an indispensable member of the Business Planning Team; nothing is planned and implemented without understanding the communications element in any organizational initiative, without input from a communications professional.

The most successful communicators develop the habit of asking:

• What is the organizational objective here?
• What are the communications issues and challenges that will impact its success?
• What does success look like for the organization – for the communications plan?
• Can I confidently develop a plan that clearly articulates to leadership the rationale for my plan and the link to organizational goals/objectives?
• How can I measure the impact of my efforts on that success – opinion surveys, business results – such as, sales, service indices, productivity, employee/customer opinions – and, yes, on-time and on-budget deliverables?
• What is the timeline and cost of the communications effort? Can I articulate the value of expenditures of time and money to organization leadership?

Be prepared when proposing your plan to explain specifically how your efforts will improve the odds for success of a given initiative. Act like a business planning participant, if you want a “seat at the table.”

In supporting a mission statement, for example, what am I trying to accomplish here – is it creating a deliverable that displays the organization mission artistically, or is it helping employees understand the mission and win their commitment to it? Of course, it should be the latter, and your measurement plan should measure more than deliverable deadlines and budgets – it should measure how well employees know the mission, know how they impact it, and why they should care – measured by employee knowledge and commitment and reflected in business results.

If you can’t measure it, don’t propose it.

Want to learn more about measurement? Take advantage of your IABC membership….get involved…learn how others measure the impact of their work. Take advantage of the opportunity to participate in award programs – judge, compete.

Is it all just self-serving? All the award programs! Is it simply a bunch of folks patting themselves on the back? Some may appear so, but in the communications industry, it can be far more than an excuse for a party – although, party we do. What is the real value? Your peers can teach you a lot! One of the great values of your membership is networking with communicators across industries and causes – a unique opportunity, indeed. It’s not just about the creation of a pretty deliverable. Successful business communicators are different – it’s about impact to the bottom line – and a good measure of such.

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IABC Nashville
Member Spotlight
Meet Paul Ladd

Paul-LaddIABC Nashville regularly highlights one of its diverse members through a Q&A feature. This month, we are pleased to showcase Paul Ladd, senior correspondent for World Christian Broadcasting. Ladd has been an IABC member for 10 years, is a former president of the Nashville Chapter and currently serves on the IABC Southern Region board of directors.

IABC: What is your background? LADD: My hometown is West Chester, PA. I am a graduate of Lenoir Community College in NC and Middle Tennessee State University. My experience has included broadcast and print journalism, advertising and a stint as Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

IABC: How did you get started in this business? LADD: In the 7th grade, I wrote for the school newspaper. My first story was about fire drills and bomb threats. I started in broadcast news at LCC’s student-run station.

IABC: What is your current position and business affiliation? How long have your been in this role? LADD: Senior Correspondent for World Christian Broadcasting. I’ve been with WCB for 9 years.

IABC: What makes your business/organization stand out? LADD: We care about our audience and take the time to make sure we’re providing quality programming.

IABC: If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would it be? LADD: Intense. Inquisitive. Loyal.

IABC: Tell something about yourself people would be surprised to learn. LADD: I have gone to Pilates for 14 years.

IABC: What lesson(s) have your learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional?
LADD: 1) My Dad often told me the three rules for a good presentation are “get up, speak up, and shut up.” 2) Jan Stinson, with whom I worked at Armour&Armour Advertising, showed me that it’s possible to keep it short and simple and still be creative. 3) Connie Eckard, an IABC Fellow, said that if you don’t think about who you’re writing for, you’re wasting your time because you won’t be communicating. He also said that we should always be students; in other words, continually learning. 4) Phil Bell, who was a TV news producer at the station where I interned. He told me to read my copy and ask myself if people really talk like that. If the answer is no, it still needs work.

IABC: What makes an effective communications leader? LADD: The ability to be clear and concise. Avoid jargon and babble. As I tell people, “Make it so simple even I can understand it, and you’ll be OK.”

IABC: What do you feel is the greatest benefit of IABC? LADD: Professional development is the greatest. Networking opportunities and the friendships are close behind.

IABC: What prompted you to join IABC? LADD: A non-member friend emailed me about a luncheon and suggested I check it out. I did and met Marty Nord, who introduced me to many of the members and recruited me for a committee. Almost instantly, I felt right at home and the rest is history.

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2014 Gold Pen Awards
Winners to be Notified in August

Gold-Trophy-clip-art-featuredThe IABC Nashville GOLD PEN committee wishes to thank everyone who entered communications projects in our 2014 awards program. It was our first year using enhanced INSTRUCTIONS and more CATEGORIES with an easy online submission and payment process.

Winners will be notified in August, and invited to attend the awards ceremony in October. (date/location TBD)

About Us
IABC Nashville is the local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. Questions? Email Gold Pen Awards CoChair Tom Kenley

 

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