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On my consultancy and training travels around the UK I get to learn so much from other people. And so, I thought I would begin sharing some of it more regularly via the somewhat obvious blog post title of ’Things I learned this week’ 😊

I hope you like volume 12

by Darren Caveney

1. A bruising week in our national politics – but spare a thought for the communicators

Like many of you, I have always taken a keen interest in UK politics. Brexit has ramped that up several notches since the referendum result. Whichever side of the fence you sit it has become compulsive viewing, listening and watching.

This week’s scenes at Westminster have been quite astonishing. Better commentators than me have been dissecting how we got here, and where we will go next.

But even the best of them are struggling to call it.

So quite how even the most skilled communications team can communicate Brexit to their organsiations in any meaningful way and with any absolute timelines is perhaps the challenge of all comms challenges. And this isn’t just government comms teams – this one floods down and impacts pretty much all organisations and teams.

Despite there being resources out there to support these updates we simply don’t know – as I write this, just 34 days away from our possible exit from the EU – what on earth will happen. This one is going to test your reactive comms to the hilt.

As always I try to take the communications learning from situations. But on this one I think we just need to spare a thought for the communicators working in the eye of this enormous storm.

My learning?

I have spent a good chunk of my career in politically restricted posts so it became second nature for me to remain silent on politics in the public sphere. That becomes harder and harder each passing week these days. It’s an incredibly tricky path for a communicator.

Harder still to run effective internal communications for your staff with so many unknowns to tackle.

But most of all spare a thought for any communicators out there feeling seriously compromised by Brexit and where it collides with their professionalism versus their personal beliefs and values.

2. Never work with children or animals, they said

This week I have been training with elected members in the South West of England. It’s always a fun and rewarding thing to do.

In one of the sessions an elected member brought along her baby. Cool.

It was certainly a first for me, and he was my youngest ever audience member by a distance.

Local elected members are regular people with jobs and families and, yes, babies. And it really does add a different dimension to a session to have a little person looking at you and wondering what on earth you are waxing lyrical about.

My learning?

Following hot on the heels of there being nine dogs in the field for Comms Unpluuged I got to thinking about the benefits it has to the feel of an event when we incorporate people’s real lives into work, be that a recent new addition to the family or man’s best friend. It absolutely enhances the environment and experience.

So if you ever get the chance in a work context to shake up meetings or events and work with children and animals I can absolutely recommend it. Who wants the same old, same old.

3. The importance of trying new things – and the buzz when they work

You may be aware that the UnAwards19 are now open. This year, for the first time, I have launched an all-new category – ‘supporting health and wellbeing in comms’.

Again, this was inspired by my time with some amazing people in the Comms Unplugged field. We know there is a growing crisis in our industry on this one and much more needs to be done to support our people, to understand the challenges, and even how to approach someone we may be concerned about.

Hence the new UnAward category.

My learning?

As with all new things, you don’t always know for sure if your idea will fly or not.

So I was so pleased to see the first ever entry into this category land this week. I’m hoping for many more from you.

It may just be the most important category of the lot. If you have done something good in this area – no matter how large or small – get it entered and let’s all share the learning on how we can all better support health and wellbeing in our industry.

You can enter here.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

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Pic by me on my travels around the south west of England this week

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

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