simply-summit wrap-up

27 April, 2012 - 14:05
Over 100 communicators gathered at Prospero House in London to hear some of the top speakers in internal communication.

set and staging were sponsored by Smythe kicked off the knowledge-soaked day describing the new roles for communicators when it comes to engagement. Among the tasks: challenging top-down decision making “which must end in telling and selling.”

According to Smythe, there are three ingredients of effective engagement: a person’s decision-making process skills, presence and language of which he noted, “words are the key to the soul.” He also stressed that communicators need to shift from fact-based communication to emotions in order to properly engage.

Euan Semple followed Smythe with a presentation mirroring the wisdom in his new book, Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do. “Let’s get technology out of the way. Don’t expect it to do the work for you.” However, he pointed out the fear many leaders face when it comes to adopting social media and new technologies.

During his presentation, Semple quoted David Weinberger’s insight, stating, “Conversations can only happen between equals.” In other words, it’s up to management to take an interest in their staff in order to influence and engage them.

Other speakers included Ian Andersen of the European Commission who described the use of social media to connect interpreters throughout Europe. The community-building case study was followed by an interesting presentation by Christoph Ruedt, who described UBS’ information security communications campaign.

According to Ruedt, it’s critical to make your employees “the solution, not the problem.” Among the ways UBS engaged staff around information security was via interactive quizzes that tested their knowledge about the topic as well as posters and artwork (posed for by employees) with catchy headlines such as, “The thing we all need to know is that we don’t all need to know.”

Having a voice

Jeppe Glahn, Director of Corporate Communications for Novozymes in Denmark, encouraged attendees to “stand their ground, challenge back and make a difference” in a session delegates described as “engaging, funny and smart.” Glahn discussed his company’s VOICE concept which included a strategic tool “to relate all communications to the business”, as well as a tool to map out key focus areas, and an implementation tool “to strengthen Novozymes’ communications.”

Mark Comerford presented an equally lively presentation which highlighted the changing nature of communications and the need for sharing. “It’s the most adaptive to change that will survive. Not the strongest.”

Comerford took part in the summit’s social media panel chaired by Marc Wright. Other panelists included Mike Grafham from Yammer, intranet pioneer, Mark Morrell, O2’s Mark Allotey and Arabspring blogger, Jasmine Elnadeem. The panel was also drawn live by Creative Connection's "Visual Minutes" team, who were sponsors of the summit.

Other sponsors of the event were Media Powerhouse who supplied all the staging and equipment both for the summit and for the IABC EMErald Awards in the evening.  Snapcomms sponsored the conference for the second time - reinforcing their importance in the European market as an invaluable tool for internal communicators.  And Chris Elmitt and his team from Crystal Interactive played their part in making it a truly social event through their talkbalk channels and premiering their PowerPoint Push technology that allowed delegates to see all the slide material on iPads at their tables. 

Changing the way you communicate

Jim Ylisela and Steve Crescenzo then took the stage outlining the 7 Deadly Sins of Communicators, as well as success stories of U.S. clients who were able to completely transform their internal communications – from snappier headlines to engaging videos filmed by employees.

Standard Chartered’s Julie Bellham and Keith Porter closed out the day with a truly inspiring case study for communicators wishing to revamp their internal communication channels. Bellham and Porter were refreshingly candid, admitting mistakes made along the way while offering insight on what worked and didn’t work in their approach.

See our Storify pageThen it was time for networking and the gala dinner where the IABC EMErald Awards were presented to winners including Rodney Jordan at Coca-Cola Enterprises (UK) for Multi-audience Communication and Employee/Member Communication. Slovenia was a particularly big winner with awards in multiple categories. A complete list of winners can be found at

For tweets, photos and speaker presentations from the summit, visit our Storify page.

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