Looking back on lessons learned

A message from your 2017-2018 chapter president

With summer nearing, the calendar year is only halfway done. Your IABC Great Plains Chapter’s current professional development year, however, is coming to a close. And that means come July, 1 I’ll be transitioning out of the president’s seat and into the role of past-president.

Since I’m a sucker for articles containing lists, and I kicked off the year that way, I think it’s only right that I go that route for my wrap-up column. Here are a few reflections from the 2017-2018 IABC Great Plains year.

  1. I thought I was getting great value out of my membership in past years. NOPE. Board involvement – particularly serving as president-elect and then president – has provided me opportunities to learn and grow that I otherwise never would’ve considered or known existed. If you’re a casual member, great. But if you really want to step up your personal and professional development game, seek a role as board volunteer or board member.
  2. I get a sense that the Great Plains Chapter membership feels invigorated. To thank for that, I look toward the board members and other volunteers with who I have the pleasure of serving. These people are some of the sharpest communicators and most solid people I’ve met. They understand the value IABC provides them and their communications cohorts, and consistently carve time out of their busy lives and workdays to ensure that value is maximized for the membership.
  3. It’s all relevant. Our expiring professional development season was packed with quality programming. And no matter the topic, whether it be a talk regarding hard skills or a presentation more on the softer side, I realized it’s all relevant to my development as a communicator. Listen, and you will learn. Sounds more like a catchphrase to annoy my children as they grow up, but I think it’s fitting for every IABC professional development event I’ve attended. No matter the topic, there’s always something to glean from it.
I hope you’re continuing to utilize some of the excellent resources available to you on iabc.com to keep learning and growing, and I thank you for your support and engagement throughout this past professional development year. I’m excited to see where this momentum carries the Great Plains Chapter in 2018-2019 and beyond.
Chris Gessele is the 2017-18 IABC Great Plains chapter president.

President’s Message – Here’s Your Nudge

Like a scared kid on the edge of the high-dive at the swimming pool, sometimes all you need is a little nudge.

(For the record, I don’t condone nudging a kid off the high-dive, but it paints a good picture, right?)

I became involved in IABC because of a nudge from my work supervisor. I think it’s a fairly common introduction to IABC – and it meant that I wasn’t truly thinking about how IABC might impact me personally and professionally.

Fast-forward a couple years, and I’ve absorbed a few lessons.

  1. You can never stop learning. The communications landscape is constantly evolving. The opportunity to learn from and connect with those on the leading edge of the communications field every month is truly invaluable.
  2. There’s more to “communications” than meets the eye. Of course there are the hard skills, like communications planning, crisis communications, search engine optimization and social media savviness. But just as important are the soft skills – cultural considerations, tapping into the psyche of your audience and the value of communicators and accurate messaging in today’s society.
  3. IABC-ers are some of the nicest, coolest and most impressive communication professionals I have ever met. It’s a group of sharp people from different backgrounds and industries who all share the same goal – connect people to ideas and each other.

As we get rolling into the 2017-2018 professional development year, just remember that you’ll get out of IABC what you put into it. It’s fine if you choose to just periodically attend a monthly professional development session. Every time you do, you’ll be able to take home some immediately implementable ideas and inspiration from local professionals.

But if you’d like to invest more in yourself, the opportunities are great. You can become a member of IABC Great Plains and get a discounted price for each month’s professional development session. You can offer to assist the IABC Great Plains board as a volunteer. You can join the board and gain access to some invaluable self-growth opportunities. You can tap into the numerous webinars offered by IABC International. You can attend IABC World Conference and connect with fellow communicators from around the world, along with several other regional and global conferences.

Whatever your involvement level of choice may be… consider this your nudge.

Chris Gessele is a staff writer/editor with Basin Electric Power Cooperative and serves as the 2017-2018 IABC Great Plains board president.

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