Our junior Mother Theresa

Around Toronto, we’ve known about Craig Kielberger since he traveled to Asia in his early teens to raise awareness about the deplorable conditions of carpet weavers and other child laborers.

On top of moving people to open their wallets and hearts, he clearly explained how giving, fundraising and volunteering can raise employee engagement, a big theme at the conference, and serve the bottom line.

Inspiring and practical, my favorite speaker combination.

Why Gen Y?

What interested me most about the KPMG session on demographics and engagement was the insight into Gen Yers, the people born after 1980 that accounting firms like KPMG are so actively courting.

Even more revealing were the comments that followed on the difficulty of working with the Gen Yers who think  they are entitled to quick promotions, much as they received trophies just for playing on a sports team.

Social media no excuse for bad quality

For the next session, I actually started somewhere else, but quickly realized I wasn’t going to learn anything new, so I trekked through the hotel labyrinth  to hear Donna Papacosta, multimedia maven.

Donna, Diana and Sue at the IABC world conference 2010Disclosure: Donna is a friend and colleague who sometimes comments on my blog, so I can’t saying anything to piss her off.  That’s her on the left, with Diana Robinson and Sue Horner, fellow members of our Toronto group called Professional Independent Communicators.

Donna provided a lot of very practical advice that unschooled people with flip cams and other recording devices needed to hear.

She showed how easy it is to raise the quality, by using tools such as light meters for video and the levelator to even out different volume levels.  She stressed how important editing is too.

I know it’s not Hollywood, but there’s no excuse to post conference that starts off with a couple minutes of empty chairs.

Don’t be afraid if my arms are up high and I’m staring

It’s natural for me to talk with my hands and look people in the eye. I’ve loved performing since my first ballet recital at age four. But, thanks to Jim Endicott, I will be able to start taking this to a new level. My arms anyways.

He showed us how to use gestures more dramatically than I’m used to and how to coordinate eye contact and movement to connect with the audience. Beware.

All-star finish

This was the first time I’d heard Shel Holtz live, though I’ve been reading him for years.  I’d enjoyed his well-reasoned and researched arguments against the many companies that block employee access to social media.

What was interesting, though, was watching the people who raised their hands when he asked who worked for companies that are blocking social media. As Shel took aim at all the usual suspects, like productivity and security, I could see them nodding in agreement. Many were opening their minds. All it takes is a crack for the light to pour in.

Innovation and communication

Let me start to declaring that I thoroughly enjoyed Guy Kawaski, the Alltopcom founder and venture capitalist. He seems to be the keynoter at every big conference I hear about lately.

Because he was in Canada he knew enough to talk fondly about hockey and healthcare. But some of his advice applied more to executives and entrepreneurs than communicators.

So I’m going to skip some of the 11 pieces of advice he provided because they don’t apply. Actually, some of it was contradictory, such as his advice to use only 10 slides in a presentation, which he way exceeded. Maybe he was deliberately demonstrating the ironies of innovation.

Guy’s advice to communicators:

1. Make meaning (not money)

2. Have a mantra (not a rambling mission statement)

3. Jump to the next curve (as in icebox to fridge)

4. Roll the dice.

5. Niche

6. Don’t let the bozos grind you down.

That was my personal favorite. Just wish he’d explained how to tell the bozos from the clowns.

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The best bits of my IABC world conference II

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