IABC Los Angeles names new chapter president

“We are so lucky to have dedicated, loyal members,” says Paula Cassin, past president, IABC-LA. “We needed help, and Nicole Maury has graciously agreed to step in.”

When Dana Edler, who had been elected IABC president for 2012-2013, unexpectedly resigned at the end of September, the IABC-LA Board needed to regroup. “Dana has been caring for both of her elderly parents and felt she needed to focus on them” Paula explains. “She just wasn’t going to be able to give her IABC role all the attention it deserved.”

That’s when long-time member Nicole Maury stepped in, agreeing to become the new president of IABC Los Angeles. As our bylaws indicate, a unanimous vote from the board is all that was needed.

“I’m delighted to pitch in,” says Nicole. “Dana has already done so much good work – she made it easy for me. And, the rest of the board has been very supportive. I’m looking forward to the coming year.”

If you follow IABC-LA, you already know Nicole as our videographer-in-chief. Her wonderful event videos are always available within two or three days of any meeting. Nicole is a project curator consultant with an extensive background in corporate communications, creative development for internal and external marketing promotion and overall project management. She has an unusual layered career including curating fine art photography artworks and assets disposition sales.

“We send all our best wishes to Dana and her parents,” says Nicole. “We’ll miss her this year, but we know she’s doing what she needs to do. And, I’m delighted to have this opportunity. My association with IABC has always been very rewarding.”

Free IABC Webinar: “Plagiarism and copyright infringement – are you guilty of either one?”

Take advantage of your member benefits and join Wilma Mathews, ABC, IABC Fellow, IABC ethics committee chair as she explains the ins and outs of plagiarism and copyright infringement.

As sharing content via social media becomes easier and more accepted, the line between sharing and plagiarizing has become increasingly blurred. As a respected faculty member at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Wilma can help you make sure you’ll never be accused of plagiarism or copyright infringement.

Register today and make sure you’ll never be on the wrong side of sharing information.

Calling all volunteers!

IABC is a member-driven organization, and we need your help! Whether it’s helping to plan an event or contributing to our website or social media outlets, there are lots of ways to get involved. It’s a great way to make new friends while supporting the worthwhile work of the IABC Los Angeles chapter. For more information on how you can help or to volunteer your services, send a note to Nicole at LA-President@IABC.com.

Linking in: Highlights from the IABC discussion forum

Each month, we highlight popular discussions from IABC’s LinkedIn group. The question this month: Can social media be successfully used to improve internal communications and enhance employee engagement?

In a very helpful discussion, commenters shared experiences in which they used social media to enhance their internal communication. Examples ranged from using Yammer to create events and using Twitter to schedule conference room events to using internal Facebook applications. Most discussion participants noted that users were hesitant at first to use the new program but eventually were won over. Social media also proved to be helpful in rating videos produced to improve company morale.

To access the threads for these conversations or to see other topics, visit the IABC LinkedIn group. IABC Los Angeles also has a lively discussion group on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Discovery, IABC’s online library

It takes just two minutes to review the new IABC Discovery tutorial. Learn not just why you should be using Discovery to find all of the best practices, research and articles you need to stay competitive, but also just how easy the online library is to use.

Upcoming web seminars

Visit the web seminars web site for more information and registration details. Seminars are either free or at a reduced fee for IABC members.

  • Wiring the social enterprise for crowdsourcing and co-creation
    Presented by Preston Lewis, Co-founder and Director, Bonfire Communications
    Oct. 24, 9–10:30 a.m. PDT
  • Plagiarism and copyright infringement – are you guilty of either one?
    Presented by Wilma Mathews, ABC, IABC Fellow, Chair, IABC ethics committee
    Nov. 7, 9–10 a.m. PDT
  • From email to infographics: Why visually enhancing your communication is critical in today’s business environment
    Presented by Drew Banks, Head of Marketing, Prezi
    Nov. 28, 9–10:30 a.m. PDT
  • Subaru brings sexy back to the autoshow
    Presented by Greg Vallentin, DDB Public Relations
    Dec. 12, 9–10:30 a.m. PDT

Cafe2Go: Blending corporate cultures in a merger

An interview with Patricia Whalen, Ph.D.

Incompatible corporate cultures can doom a merger. So, how do you make sure cultures integrate in a way that ensures the success of the new venture?

In this CW Radio interview, author Patricia Whalen, Ph.D., APR, outlines how to spot cultural mismatches early on, and how to communicate throughout the change process to reduce internal conflict, retain customers, and keep the business healthy.

IABC members can read Whalen’s article “The Right Blend” on cultural integration for mergers in the July-August issue of CW.

IABC-LA’s own Nick Durutta, ABC, on “A Communicator’s Portfolio of Skills,”

The following article appears in “The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication,” second edition, edited by Tamara Gillis, Ed.D., ABC.

Which skills should a corporate communicator bring to their role? We are aware of the need for the critical ability to strategically analyze an organization and recognize areas in which where more effective communication is needed. But the communicator’s tool kit must contain many other skills.

A corporate communicator must have basic communication skills – that is, be able to write and speak well. Yet too many senior-level communicators may be effective on a strategic level yet freeze when making a speech or attempting to write a well-crafted sentence. Because communicators never know which aspect of communication they may need to address, a repertoire of basic skills is essential:

  • Writing and editing. The ability to write well is the most critical and basic communication skill. Writing well means understanding the basics of grammar, spelling, and punctuation and having the ability to present an issue or topic in a way that is understandable to the target audience – whether it be a broad group of people with varying levels of education and background or a narrower group with specific communication needs. It also means being able to capture an audience’s attention, persuade and convince them, and trigger their emotions. Good editing requires much of the same knowledge as good writing, but is a distinct skill. (There are great editors who are not great writers, and vice versa.)
  • Design sense. The wide range of communication tools that a communicator uses – from websites to press materials to PowerPoint decks – often involves making graphic design decisions. Although a communicator does not need to be a designer, a basic understanding of design principles can be invaluable to planning and managing this function.
  • Speaking. Sometimes the focus on written communication overshadows the importance of good oral communication. A good communicator knows how to put words together for maximum understanding and effect, in speech as well as in text. He or she must be able to speak effectively, whether in a private conversation, addressing a roomful of people, or in an interview on national television.
  • Listening. The ability to actively listen – to absorb not only the surface facts of a situation but the many more subtle factors communicated by an individual or group-is an essential skill for communicators. Communication is often viewed as a one-way process: delivering information to a particular audience. But an equal part of the process is receiving feedback from the audience, both before the information or message is delivered and after. In this regard, research and measurement become important tasks for a communicator.

Research involves collecting relevant information before crafting and delivering a message. The more effectively communicators can understand factors influencing an issue – particularly those pertaining to the target audience(s) – the more effectively they can craft and deliver a message. If an issue is particularly complex or sensitive, research can become quite extensive and may involve professional research firms or specialists. Sometimes the necessary research has already been gathered and might be available from a private firm or a public database; at other times, the communicator may need to conduct independent research.

Measurement is the process of determining whether communication is meeting its goal or objective. Alarmingly, this is a step that is often overlooked; yet, conducting communication without measurement is like buying a lottery ticket and never checking the winning numbers. Unlike other activities such as sales or production, the results of communication can be challenging to measure, because they involve gauging softer, more subjective outcomes: the perceptions, opinions, and actions of groups of people. Yet such measurement is possible. There are many effective measurement tools and resources available to communicators today.

  • Strategic thinking. The ability to put everything together – to assess a business or organizational situation (within the context of many influencing factors) and develop a plan to implement the right combination of communication skills and tools at their disposal for maximum effectiveness – is possibly a communicator’s most valuable skill. Some practitioners call this “seeing the big picture” – moving beyond day-to-day activities to view a long-term solution. Strategic planning follows a prescribed process of assessing organizational needs, identifying goals, setting objectives, developing a solution, carrying it out, and measuring the results. It is through the strategic planning process that communicators can truly demonstrate their value as strategists rather than just tacticians who perform isolated tasks.

Beyond this kit of essential skills, there are certain qualities that are found in good communicators, some of which cannot be learned. It is important, for example, that a communicator be curious. The environment in which a communicator works, both internally and externally, is always changing, and staying one step ahead of changes is critical to ensuring success. A curious communicator is always researching new business and industry trends, technologies and best practices.

The most successful communicators understand that communication is an ongoing process, similar to a continuing conversation. It involves continually checking with key audiences and stakeholders to make sure the message is being properly received and being open to changing strategies and tactics.

Changes for IABC’s accreditation committee

The IABC accreditation program is no longer accepting applications; however, important work continues for candidates who applied prior to the Sept. 1 suspension. These individuals are working with dedicated volunteers to earn their ABCs in the coming months.

Given the essential contributions from volunteers, IABC is pleased to announce that the accreditation nominating committee has filled two vacancies on the accreditation committee. Effective immediately, Gail Pickard, ABC, will be serving as Director of Evaluators, and Dan Maceluch, ABC, will be serving as Director of Portfolios.

With a complete accreditation committee, the program’s volunteer leaders will help ensure the integrity of the accreditation program through this period of transition. Please direct any accreditation inquiries to recognition@iabc.com.

October’s CW Bulletin: How social media are shaping PR roles

Just trying to keep track of the latest social media site or digital tool can be overwhelming for today’s communicators. But social media and the digital age offer practitioners many new opportunities to connect, engage and converse with their audiences.

In this month’s issue of CW Bulletin, IABC experts look at the trends in the public relations industry that social media are bringing about and offer tips for what competencies PR professionals should cultivate – from great writing skills to business acumen.

Learn how you can be prepared to succeed – not only today but also in the future – no matter what social media tool pops up next.