Today (well, by now it’s yesterday, but I’m still awake) at the 2009 IABC Annual General Meeting, I gave my final speech as 2008-09 Chair of IABC. It’s been an amazing year, a great World Conference, and an emotional day. Here is the script from my remarks, which I intentionally tried to keep light to avoid crying (which almost worked):
I really believe that everything you encounter in life, every person you meet, every experience or challenge, is given to you by the universe as an opportunity – that you either have something to learn or something to teach, or both. So as my year as chair of IABC draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons. I’m going to steal from our 2009 IABC EXCEL Award winner’s Top 10 List idea, and share my top 10 lessons from the past year. 10. Authentic communication is the new requirement, a paradigm shift has already happened, and most companies and communicators haven’t made the shift. I learned this from my participation in social media, and it’s why I’ve become passionate about pulling other communicators along with me on my journey. You can’t understand this from the outside, and you can’t afford to wait until your company is ready, and then hire in the expertise. I’m really proud of how IABC has moved into a leadership role in this area, and how our use of social media is enhancing and expanding the wonderful sense of community that has always been a part of IABC. 9. Double-check when you’re tweeting a direct message that includes your mobile phone number – especially if you’ve got 20,000 followers. 8. If your brand tag line is BE HEARD, you have to learn to listen, and to be willing to hear things you don’t like. 7. That said, there is a difference between BEING HEARD and BEING OBEYED. 6. Look very closely at any travel itinerary put together by Adrian Cropley – He forgets to schedule time for sleep. 5. Todd Hattori is a tough act to follow – especially from a fashion sense. Seriously, though, Todd has been a wonderful mentor and partner, and he’s been a dedicated leader, serving on the international executive board for the many years. Please join me in thanking him for all he has given to IABC. 4. Asia Pacific is REALLY big. Every place you need to go is a very long flight away from everyplace else there. 3. Texas is also really big, and it is not a good idea to schedule 3 events in 3 different chapters in one day – and even worse idea to make me drive there (wrong side of the road, plus I’m a bad driver to begin with). 2. It is way more fun to stay with IABC members than in hotels. I’ve gotten to know Wilma Mathews’ cat Shadow, I’ve made cookies with Alice Brink, I’ve had a girlie slumber party with the Queensland chapter’s board after we spent a day developing their chapter’s first strategic plan. 1. IABC is about the people. It’s our members that make this association what it is. So thank you all for what you do for IABC, and for the opportunity to learn from you over the past year.