Q: I am recently appointed to a global communications role based between Paignton in the UK and Ottawa in Canada. As I have not worked directly in communications to this point, I am anxious to develop my communications skills and build my knowledge of best communications strategy practices. My focus is on internal communications for an organization of 10,000 employees globally.
Can you recommend any books, websites or training courses that would be of assistance to me in building my knowledge of the communications area? I will also consider one-to-one training for my own professional development in particular focusing on key messaging.
I would appreciate any advice you could give.
Congratulations on your new assignment. I’m sure you’ll find communication a far more complex and business-centered function than it often seems to employees and managers.
There are a number of organizations that provide various types of conferences or seminars. Most of them are made up of various speakers from different organizations, so there isn’t an exact course curriculum, and the conference quality may vary from session to session. In addition to the International Association of Business Communicators (www.iabc.com), which has a very thorough annual conference, you might want to contact the following organizations for mailings of upcoming conferences. IQPC has different branches in North America and in the UK. LIB and Conference Partnership are only in the UK. The rest are only in North America.
- Advanced Learning Institute (www.aliconferences.com)
- The Canadian Institute (1-877-927-7936)
- The Conference Board
- Conference Partnership (www.conferencepartnership.com)
- International Quality and Productivity Center (www.IQPC.com)
- Learning-in-Business and (in London, can’t find a contact)
- Ragan Communications (www.ragan.com)
This year Ragan had a weeklong seminar that was a fairly structured one covering all the main aspects of managing a communication function. They may be repeating it.
Also, there is an organization called the San Francisco Academy. Each year it accepts about 15-20 communication managers into a program where they meet one Friday/Saturday each month for about 8 months. It is a highly structured program designed to prepare these managers for senior communication roles. It is a virtual Academy in that it has no buildings. Various corporations sponsor it and host sessions in a variety of locations, including San Francisco, Southern California and other places where a number of “students” will find it easy to travel to. The professor in charge of the program is Frank Kalupa, at 512-343-9418.
In addition, there are a number of books and manuals that give you very concrete advice on all aspects of communication. IABC publishes a book called “Inside Organizational Communication.” Ragan Communications has a manual called “Employee Communication: The Comprehensive Manual for People who Communicate with Today’s Employees.”
Also see the other question in this section on journals about employee communication.
Finally, if there are particular topics that you’d want one-on-one advice about, I can recommend some experts. For example, for supervisor/employee communication I’d recommend Roger D’Aprix or T.J. Larkin. Using intranets and electronic communication, Shel Holtz. Communication strategy, or measurement of effectiveness, we’d be happy to help you ourselves.
Angela D. Sinickas