By: Marie K. Fitzpatrick, ABC (pictured right) and John Gilbert (pictured left)
After four IABC Leadership Institutes, it’s hard not to be ready for the ‘here we go again’ attitude. Certainly, my enthusiasm for IABC after 12 years and as an ABC never wans. Meeting new friends, connecting with old, elevator and dinner conversations about our toughest communication challenges… it’s all there. But for me, what was different about the 2018 LI was in the rich content that seemed to be within two streams for the first time. Yes, the chapter management intel was ever present, but this time there was a second stream to strength leadership skills.
Communicators are Natural Disruptors
Communicators get things done. We know this. But how we do this is an ever-evolving skill set. This LI I learned, among other things, about the four styles of leadership, how to create great thought leadership and content marketing and developing a personal communication style. Wow! That was a whole lot of me-time and introspection but, if you think about it, that makes sense. We need to pause, think about our leadership strengths and play to them. And this takes time.
Bringing Your “A” Game to LI
While other leadership conferences that I attended had solid themes and tons of supportive learning, as a veteran, for me it was this secondary leadership conference stream that made all the difference. Given that my employer was supporting my leadership journey to attend, it was significant that I had real, tangible insights to deliver not only to my chapter team but to my work team as well. This year, there seemed to more of a business focus in this regard.
Written by Marie K. Fitzpatrick
New on Deck… IABC speaking that is
As an emerging leader within IABC and incoming President for IABC Golden Horseshoe, I entered LI with eyes wide open. There was a bit of anxiety not knowing just what to expect. Still being fairly green in my communications career, there are the challenges of both learning, understanding and implementing. Challenges will always exist. It’s adapting to them that is the key. Put your best foot forward, don’t dip that toe in the water to check the temperature… just jump right in.
The letters ‘L’ and ‘I’ were used repeatedly, for obvious reasons. Leadership Institute was such a broad title. Here’s what it meant to me:
Lasting Impression: This would be the most applicable. Considering I am a fairly new communicator, I arrived without expectations and felt the excitement of the unknown. From keynote speakers, to breakout sessions, to the people that I met and spoke with in San Diego, I am happy to report that I was blown away.
Loving Individuals: I briefly mentioned this above, but it is well worth repeating. Everyone that I met embodied a genuine love of communications, a passion for what they do and a drive to always be better. Can’t help but fall in love with an atmosphere like that.
Listening Intently: It didn’t matter whether it was a one on one conversation, a speaker, or a group chat. Listening to the stories, advice and knowledge people had to offer was simply invaluable.
Learning Involvement: Being involved and engaged in the learning process is critical. Having the speakers interact with the audience plays a huge role in being able to absorb that information and take it back to your local chapter.
My LI experience will allow me to lead with direction, purpose and a conscious mind for those that will be next.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes