International Association of Business Communicators Conference

Read about blogger Hannah Byron’s experience attending a business and communications conference and how it reminded her about her love for the field of communications.

By: Hannah Byron

After spending a semester abroad where I took all non-major courses, being able to attend an event focused on my major was a much needed reminder of why I love communications and am pursuing a career in this field. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to both attend and present at the International Association of Business Communicators Heritage Region Conference with two classmates, Megan and Adrian, and our professor, Yvette.

I have attended one conference before, but solely as a student. This time, I was able to both attend the student conference, professional conference, and present during a panel session of the professional conference. We heard from a variety of public relations and communications professionals, from local to national organizations, and small and large companies.

Hannah1

From left to right: Hannah Byron, Megan Leon, Adrian Baker, Yvette Sterbenk.

There were two apparent themes emphasized throughout the entire conference: trust and storytelling.

Trust with employees, trust with stakeholders, and trust with society. Upon entering a career in corporate communications, I was fearful of the “Corporate America” stigma that comes along with the industry. However, it is experiences such as this conference that reiterate how the communications field is straying further and further away from this image.

Trust goes hand in hand with authenticity.

One of the keynote speakers connected a personal story about his disabled brother to the important role that we as communicators play in terms of authenticity. By using genuine storytelling to create meaningful campaigns and integrating personal stories into corporate storytelling, companies are able to make more personal connections with audiences.

After rummaging through the pages of notes I took during the three day conference, I compiled five key takeaways:

  1. Strategic communication is taking the important and making it interesting.
  2. Do less and do it better.
  3. Trust your employees to tell the most powerful stories.
  4. Today, everything internal is external.
  5. Communications is about overcoming the fear to try new things, so take the road less traveled by.

Our professor, Yvette, presented her research findings on why students decide to enter the communications field. My classmates and I helped with her presentation by sharing our personal stories and insights on why we decided to pursue communications majors.

While engaging in a dialogue about this topic, I was reminded of why I love this field so much. I find it ironic that I went to the conference to present why I joined communications, yet doing this also served as another reason why I love this adaptive and innovative career path.

 

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