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“Let Me Get This Straight”: When Identity Politics Becomes Identity Language

Plenty of articles have been written about achieving gender parity in the PR profession. But what nobody’s talking about is the collision course we’re heading for as communicators when gender parity meets gender neutrality. Can we—should we—be gender-agnostic in the workplace? What are the issues? How can communicators influence the conversation?

Join us Wednesday, January 22, as Michael Deas, ABC, SCMP, takes us on a deep-dive into this topic, comparing current AP style guidelines with practical workplace realities. Expect to have your thinking challenged and your perspective broadened as we explore a very timely and provocative issue for today’s communicator.

Event information 

Schedule

11:30am-12pm – Networking
12:00pm-1pm – Panel Discussion and lunch

Location

The Café at Thistle Farms
5122 Charlotte Avenue
Nashville, TN 37209

Meet our presenter:
Michael Deas, ABC, SCMP
Director of Communications and Public Relations, Volkert, Inc.

Michael Deas, ABC, SCMP, is at his heart a teacher and a writer but professionally, he has never been either of those. Instead, he has poured his ability into a variety of roles over his 34-year career: editor, missionary, translator, marketing manager, corporate communications manager, and communications director. Currently, Mike leads all internal and external communication at Volkert, Inc., an infrastructure engineering firm based in Franklin, Tennessee. Prior to this position, Mike was an independent consultant with Ideas Abound, LLC, a marketing communications agency that he and his wife Colleen owned and operated.

Mike has been a member of IABC for 23 years, a past president of IABC South Carolina, an Accredited Business Communicator since 2004, and a Strategic Communication Management Professional since October 2018. Mike is also a fluent German speaker and certified translator and interpreter.

His wide range of experience in communication roles–for companies large and small, public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, on both sides of the Atlantic, in two languages–equips him with insight on the challenges facing today’s communicators.

Reserve your spot for IABC Nashville’s first event of 2020!  

We look forward to seeing you there! 


Why are social media posts like the cobbler’s children?

Finding good writing on social media can be like finding the proverbial unicorn.

A guest blog by Joe Diorio

The end of 2019 represents not only the end of another year, but the end of a decade.

That’s prompting no shortage of #grateful type posts on social media. Sadly, there is more than a bit of repetition to all of them, since the posts all start out the same way.

“So grateful for …”
“So happy to see …”
“What a year this has been …”

The problem with this is that if everything reads the same, then nothing may be read at all. The scan and skip nature of reading online material makes it way too easy to gloss over these posts.

It’s not just end-of-year messages, either. After IABC Nashville presented its annual Music City Gold Pen Awards, the avalanche of social media messages about the awards mentioned a lot except what was done to win the awards. Here’s a sample of what showed up in my various social media news feeds:

“Congrats to all of today’s award recipients!”
“We are thrilled to announce …”
“Wow, we are in awe …”
“So proud of you …”

At the risk of making everyone hate me, we are communicators, right? Then why are our social media posts so – what’s the word? – dull? Repetitive? Uncreative?

OK, everyone put down the torches and blunt objects and please read on before sending me a variation of a “WELL, YOU TRY IT” email. Don’t kill the messenger (a variation of that phrase can be traced all the way back to Sophocles in 442 B.C., but I digress). We all know the demand for quick and up-to-the-nanosecond communications is leaving good writing in its wake.

Dull writing is the proverbial kiss of death for marketing communication professionals. A decade after Nicholas Carr asked in The Atlantic asking “Is Google making us stupid?” we seem to be forgetting that the single most important job for us is to communicate.

We get it that you are proud, happy, and thrilled to have won, but go a step further and tell us why. Rather than saying “we are thrilled to announce” how about:

  • “Teamwork and a dedication to the goal of increasing widget sales by 10 percent resulted in our being recognized with a Music City Gold Pen Award.”
  • “A team from our agency and our client who believed we could pull off an event that
    heretofore never took place in Nashville was honored…”
  • “We taught consumers something they never knew before …”

In other words, use social media to tell your followers what you did, how you did it, and why you did it. We all have scores of social media accounts we follow. Identify those nuggets of wisdom that made your communication effort an award winner and lead with that. And along the way omit the needless and, sadly, self-serving words. Everyone should plan their social media posts about their awards as carefully as they plan the communication activities that garnered them said awards.

In 2009 I had the privilege of meeting Ted Sorensen, who wrote so eloquently while chronicling the presidency of John F. Kennedy. He explained the need to communicate clearly and effectively with a brilliant shaggy dog story.

He said a salesman was setting up shop to sell seafood. First pass at a sign: “Fresh Seafood, Fish for Sale.” Well, he thought, who would sell stale fish? So he shortened the sign: “Seafood, Fish for Sale.” Heck, fish ARE seafood, so the word “fish” was dropped. But if he’s selling seafood in a store, then why say it’s “for sale”? The final sign, eloquently and to the point, read, simply, “Seafood.”

And, by the way, I’m confident he was proud, excited, and humbled by the chance to open his store.

Happy new year, and let’s write carefully out there, people. 

Joe Diorio is a Nashville IABC member and a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. You can sign up for his newsletter, “A Few Words About Words,” by visiting his website

Would you like to be a guest blogger?
Email us at iabcnashvilletn@gmail.com


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