I've had a chance to reflect on my recent speaking (and cooking) engagements in Houston and Toronto and thought I'd share some of my observations with FYA readers:
- IABC members are kind, hospitable, intelligent folks who treat me like a member of their family wherever I go. Which was particularly satisfying in Houston, considering that I staged an unusual barbecue demonstration for a group of TEXANS. Yikes! I'm lucky I made it out of there with my tongs intact. (See the photos here and the local coverage here.)
- Everybody in our profession is thinking and talking about the exciting and anxiety-inducing world of social media -- and lots are also diving in, too. A show of hands revealed that at least 80 or 90 per cent of the big crowd who turned up to see my IABC Toronto talk are twittering. Which is a good sign, even if twitter may not turn out to be The Next Big Thing, because ...
- Exactly NONE of the 40 or so very smart HR people I talked to the next morning at a Conference Board of Canada HR conference are trading tweets. That spells opportunity for the more Web 2.0-savvy communicators, who can use their hands-on experience to help bring their HR colleagues and senior executives on board.
- Or maybe the IABC group's twitter mania is an indication of just how desperate employee communicators are to get on the latest technological bandwagon so they can escape their nightmarish day-to-day existence maintaining outdated, clunky intranets and dealing with skittish, change-averse leaders who drive them crazy with their old-school ideas. Just kidding!
- Which brings me to a final anecdote. It's from the last day of my Toronto trip, at a half-day in-house workshop I delivered to the communications team of a big insurance company. This stinging observation came from the intranet manager: "The kids coming into our workplace today can do more on their cell phones than on our intranet." That statement alone should be a wake-up call for communicators and business leaders everywhere.