I go to a fair amount of IC-related conferences and networking events, and a new icebreaker question I’ve been using is: What are you fed up of hearing about in the IC space? Here’s the top three replies

  • How to write a strategy
  • How to measure
  • How to get a seat at the top table

I was chatting to an external comms lead recently and when I mentioned that these topics crop up regularly in IC circles, she laughed.

Sure, junior IC pros would benefit from advice in these matters – but should these really be a topic at events for middle/senior managers? Or even a topic at all?

Strategies, measurement and influence have been around in business forever, so I fail to see why IC pros can’t pick up good practice from other business areas. How do other departments at your work tackle these things? Is our industry really that specialist that how we tackle them is unique? The IoIC is celebrating 70 years this year, so have we really only come so far as a profession?

When I attend IC events, I generally meet a bunch of very bright people; full of creativity, who I pick up some corking ideas from. So why in person can we be so great, but yet in our LinkedIn feeds we come across as being a rather infantile industry?

I know that there are some excellent IC consultants in the space… truly. But perhaps it suits certain ones to keep these topics high on the agenda, as they make good money out of them. A little like the school teacher who doesn’t want to change the syllabus so they can repeat the same easy lesson plans year after year.

In my view, these three things are BAU IC leadership activity. If you need a little help, check in with your network, talk to a mentor, swap notes with external comms or marketing colleagues. But, please, can we stop having these as ‘hot topics’, and focus more on the things which can drive us forward as a profession. Three suggestions below:

  • New tools and technology to help build engagement/collaboration
  • How to kill the sanitised corporate centre
  • The opportunities for IC to lead business transformation

Nicholas Wardle is the Head of Employee Engagement at One Housing.

Nicholas Wardle was speaking on ‘Future Skills for Internal Communicators’ on a panel chaired by Annabel Dunstan, Founder and CEO, Q&R, at BOC UK IC Conference held in London on 28-29th March 2019.