Attend, Listen, Learn and Share

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There are dozens of PR industry events each year and it’s becoming more and more difficult to know which ones to attend and to budget for.

If you are a solo/freelance practitioner or run a small agency, the combined cost of all the events you may wish to attend or send your staff to can easily, very easily, get out of hand.

If you don’t go to (un)conferences, you can find most of the resources online. The blogosphere is filled with “before” and “after”, YouTube is booming with “how to” and “self-help” videos, and our industry bodies have plenty of free resources for you and your staff to top up or brush up on your tactical and strategic skills.

Coming from an introvert, this may surprise you: couch learning and online study can never ever beat the actual takeaways and adrenaline rush you get from attending an event; they simply can’t.

Having the chance to ask questions (I do, a lot!), agree or disagree with the speakers/panellists or simply find someone during a coffee break and ask “Didn’t you find that comment really interesting?” can never be matched by any self-study.

When time (if we could all get paid to attend events and not work …) and money (if we win the lottery) are in scarce supply, making that decision of which event to attend and why you should attend it becomes very difficult…

I, for one, attend no more than 2-3 events per year. My reasons are multiple, starting with a genuine lack of time and ending with wondering whether they are worth my time and money. So, very briefly, below are the events I make an extra effort to attend and those I’d like to attend:

1. PRFEST

There is absolutely no secret that I love PRFest and what Laura Sutherland FCIPR has done with this unconference concept.

A 2-day packed yearly event held in the gorgeous Scottish capital, welcoming a diversity of speakers and attendees, providing something for everyone, PRFest was a blast last week and below you can see this year’s pre-event trailer:

It’s affordable, it’s friendly, highly engaging and conversational, and it has no “prima-donnas” on the stage! This year has been my 3rd consecutive year attending it and, if I can, I’m sure I’ll attend next year’s too!

2. GLOBAL REPUTATION FORUM

Organised by PRMoment and chaired this year by PRCA’s Director General Francis Ingham, 2018 marks its first edition – actually, if you hurry, I’m sure you still have time to buy a ticket.

I asked the Forum’s Chairman whether this is a “one-off” or whether it would be run every year and, it appears, it will not only be annual but it will also be replicated on other continents! Below is a video of Francis, providing more details on this event:

This is a Chatham House Rule event bringing together senior communications practitioners to hear and debate the insights provided by leading academics, lawyers, pollsters, ethicists and journalists and, if you check the speakers’ profiles and the event topics, you’ll understand why I have it “on my list”.

3. CIPR NORTHERN CONFERENCE

The reason why this Conference is on my list “to attend” is simply because its programme looks amazing, it’s out of the London “same old, same old”, it has house names and new names, it has workshops (not just speeches) and it caters for a variety of interests.

Just like the PRFest, CIPR’s Northern Conference proves that great events can be set out of the “London bubble” and rightly so. Although there hasn’t been a Northern Conference for five years, 2018 is the year it’s happening again and returning to the North, taking place in Newcastle.

Tickets are still available and, if you do attend it, you’re in for a treat because, this time, you don’t have to be in London to:

  1. get access to some internationally renowned speakers
  2. be part of the very latest thinking in the PR and Comms community
  3. earn CPD points and strengthen your position as a professional communicator amongst your peers, employers and the wider business community

4. COMMS UNPLUGGED

I’ve been promising myself for a couple of years now to attend this “Comms Camp” – what prevented me to do so until now was the thought of sharing my musing with creepy crawlies in the middle of the nature, while missing on my “musts”: hot water, shower gel, body lotion etc. Plus, I don’t even own a pair of wellies, let alone socks (I’m not joking!).

But … and here is the “but”: now I know that “camping” is not compulsory and, for those like me, there is always accommodation available in the nearby village (with hot water, shower gel, soap etc.).

This year’s event takes place in September and you can still book a place if you wish – it’s an unconference meant to unwind you, put you in touch with other peers, allow you to express yourself in a technology-free environment and, most of all, it allows you to reflect on a variety of issues you may be experiencing or seeking solutions to. Give it a try, I know I will.

 

 

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