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By Marie K. Fitzpatrick, ABC    

Predictions, problem-solving and planning…Every year volunteer communication leaders from around the world gather to share insights, knowledge and innovative approaches at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Leadership Institute (LI). At this year’s IABC LI, several predictions surfaced. They served to outline leading communication techniques and best practices from around the world.

Here are a few of the predictions that are emerging in our communications world. Fact checking is now the new norm but in speedy fashion. That’s the change. It’s no longer “check against delivery.” As executives give speeches, you don’t have to look far into the crowd to see a fact-checker on-line as the words are delivered moment by moment.

Business acumen continues to be the cornerstone of understanding what drives an organization. Gathering and analyzing data will drive insights and communicating results. Measurement has never been so important in our industry.

Examining communication channel delivery and chat bots will also continue to emerge as significant players in our communication field. Chat bots, a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet, continues to expand.

To no one’s surprise, high quality content will drive and build loyalty. And loyalty will be king as the battle for the “locked screen” continues. Think of your social media channels and all those sponsored Facebook posts and promoted tweets inching into your social feeds. The challenge for communicators will be to get “into” those social feeds by invitation rather than forcing themselves in. “Following” and “likes” and “shares” rather than an advertised buy. Think of the New York Times and their quality content.

Videos still reign supreme for communicators for sharing content and messages. The difference is the ease of creating videos. For example, Wibbitz is a friendly and non-technical platform that offers automated video creation for publishers. SnappyTv is another similar platform. It’s all because as communicators, we need to entertain and enlighten.

The top three communication challenges for professionals? One challenge continues to be getting included in strategy and planning efforts at the executive level within an organization. The goal is to be invited to that first initial brainstorming meeting rather than parachuted in when things go wrong. Demonstrating the value of communications to the same audience goes hand and hand with this.

Lastly, keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the field of communications never ceases. But then again, that’s why IABC LI exists. It exists to help us address these challenges among trusted colleagues and friends.

Marie K. Fitzpatrick, ABC

Marie is an award-winning, accredited business communicator with 25+ years of experience implementing strategic communications. She holds Bachelor of Arts from Ryerson University in Journalism, a certificate in Public Relations and an executive education certificate in Risk and Crisis Communications from McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business. Marie is an avid community builder with more than two decades of volunteering on numerous boards.

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