IABC World Conference 2015: former board member attends and reports back

Tracie Bettenhausen

Tracie Bettenhausen, IABC Great Plains member. She took this selfie as part of a game, which was included in the IABC World Conference app.

Tracie Bettenhausen, who formerly served on IABC Great Plains board as president and director of professional development, attended the 2015 IABC World Conference in San Francisco, CA, in June. Here is a summary of what she learned.

I wish for all IABC members to be able to attend at least one world conference. This was my first. My recap follows my tweets from the event, at @tracielee. If you’re interested in learning about anything more in this summary, IABC World Conference 2015.

Day 1
First keynote: Aaron Dignan
1. How can we organize our companies and work groups so that we are not spending our time making plans (which Dignan refers to as “crap with good intentions”) and instead respond to changes and emerge with solutions.
2. Networks are important in getting work done. He used the examples of the immune system, the Internet, and colonies of ants, that we can use as examples in our own companies.
3. Learn more about “holacracy,” which is a way of running an organization so that the authority and decision making is pushed out to the very edges, away from management hierarchy.

Second keynote: Liz Wiseman
1. What you know is less important than what you can learn. Don’t let what you know get in the way of what you don’t know.
2. Try to bring back your rookie mindset. When was the last time you felt like a rookie? What did you do at that point to succeed? Wiseman helped us understand how those processes and the qualities that brought us to them can be useful all the time. When you know enough to see a pattern, you start to fill in the blanks and assume things. That is not helpful in growing and developing new and better things. And when the leaders of an organization think they “know it all” they don’t hear the feedback coming from their employees.
3. She also got into a discussion on the difference between multipliers and diminishers. Multipliers are the kind of leaders who make everyone around them smarter. Diminishers do the opposite. And there are people who are diminishers even though they have the best of intentions.

Breakouts: Allyson W. Neal and Chuck Gose
1. Allyson W. Neal of Conoco Phillips presented on how to keep your organization’s website relevant in today’s world of social media. She says you must always design with mobile in mind. At ConocoPhillips, Neal’s team is 4-5 people handling content, with one of them also handling social media. 1) Visual appeal is most important. Eye-popping images are what will keep people on your website. Image colors should match your web colors. 2) Simple architecture is extremely important. 3) Your top level navigation needs to be limited to five to seven tabs. Writing must be clear and short, just a headline. 4) Less graphics, more photos and video. Content maintenance is important. Be consistent. 5) Infinite scroll: dynamically created, generating like content as you keep scrolling.
2. Chuck Gose does not work for LinkedIn, but presented on how he uses the network. I’ve never been much for LinkedIn, but Gose’s insights (and what Dignan said earlier about networks) got me thinking I need to pay more attention to this social network. 1) LinkedIn is about data, not numbers. Once you have 500 connections, they don’t even show your number any more. Once you’ve had 99 people endorse you for a particular skill, they don’t show that number any more. The reason being by that point, you’re proven to be connected, with skills. 2) Gose recommends accepting LinkedIn connections from anyone where there could be value and not just limiting it to those you know or have met in person. He says the point is to have a network of connections, and you want to be connecting up and out. 3) What is your digital curb appeal? What do you see when you Google yourself? LinkedIn will help you build and maintain that, because the content there is trusted.

Day 2
First keynote: Bill McDermott
1. Bill McDermott is CEO of SAP.
2. The focus of his presentation was the power of storytelling and the importance of reading a room.

Breakouts: Shane McLaughlin, Shel Holtz, Chuck Gose, and Dr. Laoise Murchu
1. Shane McLaughlin of Walmart talked about WalmartOne, Walmart’s extranet for employees. It’s both on desktop and an app, and it’s password-protected, but outside the firewall, meant to be accessed off-the-clock. Some of the content is duplicated on the intranet, which is accessed during work. WalmartOne has employee’s paycheck information, benefits, vacation days, all of that. But it’s also meant to help build Walmart’s culture.
2. During the panel with Shane McLaughlin, Shel Holtz and Chuck Gose, we learned about technology’s part in today’s workforce. 1) WhatsApp can be used to reach remote employees to send information and photos to those who don’t sit at a desk. 2) Internal vs. external communications no longer exists thanks to the digital world. 3) Employees will go around the IT department to find the solutions they know are out there. Bring your own device (BYOD) is more popular than ever.
3. Dr. Laoise Murchu talked about helping employees in times of change. People seek out connections in times of change. She brought up the CAFÉ process, in which leaders focus on positive: what are we good at and how can we do that better? Consistent communication between managers and employees increases productivity. As part of an example, the Irish rugby team spends 30 percent of their time working on being a team.

Day 3
First session: Gamification
1. You can use gamification to engage and motivate employees.
2. Gamification is part of most of our daily lives now: Fitbits, fantasy football, frequent flier miles, etc. (lots of Fs…) Something to chew on.

Second session: Rapido
1. Rapido is a line-up of presenters, each presenting for less than four minutes, on a common topic. Any IABC member can apply to be part of Rapido.

In the middle of Rapido, I had to leave to get on my plane.

I did follow the tweets of the last two sessions of the day: a panel on the Boston Marathon bombing and a session on social media with Guy Kawasaki. The Kawasaki tweets were so influential I changed my profile pics on every one of my social media applications.

Live reporting from Communicate Stronger 2015

Communicate Stronger 2015

Jan Nelson, BNC National Bank, chats with Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic and Communicate Stronger 2015 keynote speaker.

Communicate Stronger 2015 was a full day of learning and networking. Our hashtag #CommStrong15 holds a pretty good rundown of what really stuck out to attendees. Here is a roundup of what you were saying on Twitter.

April PD: Personal and business cybersecurity

Charlie Tweet

Charlie Tweet, Bank of North Dakota.

We know it’s important to protect sensitive information both at work and at home. At the April Professional Development event, Charlie Tweet, Bank of North Dakota chief information officer, shared how hackers generally try to steal that information and how you can defend against those hacking attempts.

The agenda covered everyone’s individual role in information security, the definitions of information security and sensitive information, the most common types of cybercrimes and attack methods and how to defend your information against those attacks.

According to Tweet, data is one of our most valuable assets.

“Information security is an extremely important these days at your business as well as in your personal life,” Tweet said. “It’s everybody’s role to be concerned about information security.”

Some of the most prominent cybersecurity threats are:

  • nation-state attacks
  • extortion
  • data destruction
  • bank card breaches will continue
  • third-party breaches

A few of the most high-risk areas include the internet, email and social media.

“Don’t click on things you don’t expect from people, and hover over links to check if it’s a redirect to some odd or suspicious link,” Tweet said. “People are the weakest link in all this stuff; people can be tricked. Just be aware of what you’re doing.”

Some of the most common defense methods people and businesses can use are firewalls, antivirus software, supported operating systems and mission-critical passwords.

IABC Great Plains

IABC Great Plains

Mayo Clinic director of social media to be keynote at Communicate Stronger

Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic, will be speaking at Communicate Stronger, May 19, Bismarck, NDLee Aase is director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, which builds on Mayo Clinic’s leadership among health care providers in adopting social media tools. Mayo Clinic is a pioneer in hospital blogging and has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube as well as active, popular outposts on Twitter and Facebook.

He will be discussing three aspects of social media during the Communicate Stronger conference to be held May 19, 2015, at the North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck. Registration is now open!

Aase’s first presentation will talk about Social media and professionalism.  His second talk will focus on Facebook and Twitter during a discussion of  How MacGyver would use Facebook and Twitter. Aase will be the featured presentation during the lunch hour where he will discuss Four ways to manage your online reputation.

By night, Lee is Chancellor of Social Media University, Global (SMUG), a free online higher education institution that provides practical, hands-on training in social media for lifelong learners.  In 2013, he was inducted into the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame, and in 2014 he was appointed to a two-year term on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Media. He also was named to the list of “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better” by HealthLeaders Media.   Prior to joining Mayo Clinic in 2000, Lee spent more than a decade in political and government communications at the local, state and federal level. Aase.lee@mayo.edu | @LeeAase

Communicate Stronger 2015: Agenda and pricing

Communicate Stronger 2015

We are excited to offer Communicate Stronger, a full day of professional development training to be held Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, ND.

IABC Members: $85.00
Non-members: $125.00
Students: $25.00

*Please note: If your employer is a sponsor (listed below), your registration may be free. Check on that before registering!

Please register today! Space is limited.

7:30 – 8 a.m.
Registration and networking breakfast

8 – 8:15 a.m.

8:15 – 8:45 a.m.
Social media and professionalism
Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

9 – 10 a.m.
How MacGyver would use Facebook and Twitter
Lee Aase, Director, Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

10 – 10:15 a.m.

10:20 – 11:20 a.m.
Breakout session 1
• Telling your story through video: Matt Fern, owner of Creative Treatment
• Working with the media: Tom Gerhardt, news director at KX News

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Four ways to manage your online reputation
Lee Aase, Director Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
Breakout session 2
• Cheap-Fast-Good. Pick Two: Art Phillips, co-owner at Video Arts
• Effective written communications: Marnie Piehl, director of College Relations, Bismarck State College

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Breakout session 3
• Community involvement: Case studies: Starion’s Kindness Cash with Trish Helgeson, marketing and communications manager, VP at Starion Financial, and Basin’s Backyard Garden with Tracie Bettenhausen, staff writer/editor at Basin Electric Power Cooperative
• Shifting North Dakota demographics: Kevin Iverson, manager at North Dakota Census Office, North Dakota Department of Commerce

Communicate Stronger 2015 sponsors

Be an All-Star Communicator with Ann Wylie and Shel Holtz

2015 All-Star Communications IABC Pacific Plains RegionIABC Pacific Plains Region will present the 2015 All-Star Communications Workshop in Minneapolis April 27-28. This “spring training” for public relations, marketing and communications professionals throughout the region will feature industry leaders Ann Wylie and Shel Holtz. Wylie, who has conducted writing workshops throughout the world, will train attendees to become all-star storytellers; and communications guru Holtz will discuss the steps necessary to create home run digital communications.

In addition to Wylie and Holtz, the schedule includes a keynote by the Minnesota Twins’ Kevin Smith. Smith will share the communications strategy behind last summer’s MLB All-Star Game held at Target Field in Minneapolis. For those interested, a networking event will be held in conjunction with the Minnesota Twins’ game against Detroit that Monday evening. Purchase tickets to join other professionals in your field for a night out at the ballpark!

Overnight accommodations are being provided at a special rate of $118 per night by the Hyatt Place Minneapolis Downtown. The rate is being offered for a limited time, based on availability. Please mention IABC Pacific Plains Region when reserving your room.

Learn more about the workshop and register today!

Focus on financials at March Professional Development event

Certified Public Accountant Michael Schmitz, stockholder/partner and Bismarck branch manager of Widmer Roel, used Bank of North Dakota’s annual report to walk attendees through balance sheet basics. A few key statistics are telling, Schmitz says, but only reveal a fraction of an entity’s complete financial picture. A basic grasp of that picture can help a professional become more well-rounded and more valuable to their employer.

March 2015 Professional Development

Marc Menge, BNC National Bank, and presenter Michael Schmitz, CPA and stockholder/partner and Bismarck branch manager of Widmer Roel.

Schmitz says in addition to a balance sheet, it’s important to view other financial statements as well including: an income statement; statement of cash flow; and management discussion and analysis (MD&A). He says all of these statements provide a comprehensive view of the viability of an organization.

Depending on the type of organization – profit, not for profit, public entity, etc. – there may be variations in how the statements are analyzed, but are basically the same for all.

The MD&A is the responsibility of management. Schmitz says this is the most important part of a financial report. “It’s what bankers and investors read the most,” he says. It provides an outlook of what the organization has done or is planning to do.

In looking at a specific report, Schmitz says a balance sheet is a “snap shot in time. It’s only about 10 percent of the financial picture. … [Analysts] look at the ratio of assets to liabilities. It should be between 1.5 and 3. You don’t want to see a number lower than that.”

An income statement answers the questions of ‘How are we doing?’ This statement shows a profit (or loss) margin, and generally reports on a multi-year trend, usually three years, Schmitz says. “We’re looking for return on investments in this statement.”

A statement of cash flow reports on “what came in and what went out.” It’s similar to an income statement but shows “what we did with our money, and shows whether we had enough to pay for expenses,” according to Schmitz. Trends are also analyzed and reviewed in these statements as well.

Schmitz says when the financial statements of an organization are audited, the goal of the auditors is to be comfortable with “what’s being presented is generally accurate, and there’s no sense of illegal activity.” During an audit, auditors will “routinely test to see if what has been reported is factual.”

Schmitz says tax statements are not the same as financial statements. “What’s reported on a financial statement may be acceptable to standard accounting practices, but not acceptable to current tax laws.”

March 2015 Professional Development

IABC Great Plains chapter president Amber Larson, Bartlett & West, and Katie Ryan-Anderson, Northern Plains Electric Cooperative.

March 2015 Professional Development

Sponsors announced for Communicate Stronger 2015

The Communicate Stronger 2015 conference is officially set for May 19 at the North Dakota Heritage Center.

Watch future posts for a full agenda, or go to the registration site: Communicate Stronger 2015

Here is the full list of sponsors
Platinum ($2,500)
Basin Electric Power Cooperative
Gold ($1,000)
MDU Resources Group
Silver ($750)
Bartlett & West
Bronze ($300)
BNC National Bank

Communicate Stronger 2015 sponsors

How communicators can prove value to the C-suite

Mike Mabin, Agency MABU.

Mike Mabin, president, owner and founder of Agency MABU.

Mike Mabin, president/owner of Agency MABU, lent his expertise on how communicators can realize their value and prove that value to the leaders within their respective organizations.

An organization’s leaders are sometimes referred to as the “C-suite” – the CEO, CFO, CIO, COO or CMO. The “C” in each acronym is Chief, and the “O” is officer. The others are: executive, financial, information, operating and marketing.

Mabin says there are tangible and intangible skills important for a communicator: leadership development, strategic thinking and execution, technology knowledge and skills, team and relationship building skills, communications and presentation skills, change management, and integrity.

It’s crucial to know how the C-suite feels about budgets, talent development, quality and continuous development, and the mission, vision and values of the organization.

“Leaders are constantly in decision-making mode. … To show value to the C-suite, go beyond your projects, and show how communications efforts are supporting the business plan overall,” Mabin says. “We have to produce content and ideas, but we need to talk about the organization’s needs when discussing our website and newsletters, for example.”

February 2015 professional development.

Attendees at the event: Chase Betz, Melissa Heaton, Lance Hill and Todd Flicek, all from Bank of North Dakota (BND). Thanks to BND for sponsoring!

February 2015 professional development.

Mabin said a communicator can increase an organization’s value by becoming invaluable based on how think, act and communicate and using communications to support your organization’s biggest needs.

Respect trumps popularity in the C-suite. “Don’t take a path to please and appease all. That’s a path to diminished worth,” he says.

As for how the C-suite views communicators, Mabin asks, “Are you a nicety or a necessity? … Are you seen as a cost or a revenue source? … Do you seek funds or deliver outcomes? … And do you share your contribution in terms of enhanced reputation, increased market share, improved employee relations, and expanded community benefit.”

Mabin also says problem solving matters. “You need to bring solutions, not problems. … Be proactive. … Offer smart advice. … Eliminate causes to solve problems.”

Mike’s formula for success:
(T+P4) x (I+P4) = V
Tangibles (P) = price + profit + production + problem solving
Intangibles (I) = purpose + pride + persistence + personality
These equal value (V) to the C-suite.

February professional development

Pizza for lunch! Left to right: Andrea Blowers, Basin Electric senior staff writer/editor; Dain Sullivan, Basin Electric staff writer; and Daryl Hill, IABC Great Plains secretary.

Communications styles discussed at January event

Cheryl Ann Kary

Presenter Cheryl Ann Kary is a 2013 Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow engaged in the development or improvement of services for American Indians in the Bismarck/Mandan/Lincoln area.

During the January 2015 professional development event, Cheryl Ann Kary, director of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center, shared the importance of recognizing cultural communication differences, and how understanding these differences can enhance communication both inside and outside the workplace.

She said the Native American communication style is circular with a basis on listening, as opposed to a linear model. It’s a fluid communication model that starts with a relationship.

The Native American communication style is based on respect.

A typical conversation includes nine components:
1. Listening is a prerequisite for speaking.
2. It begins with a formal introduction as a way of establishing who the speaker is in relation to you.
3. It acknowledges a viewpoint.
4. Responses are indirect.
5. It is non-confrontational, based on values of collectivism and ultimately consensus.
6. It is based on the “common man,” a Native American principle which acknowledges everyone has the same worth; in essence, humility.
7. It includes humor.
8. 8. Narrative storytelling is typical, as a way of sharing experiences and evoking emotion and response.
9. It has a formal conclusion that indicates, “I am done.”

Cheryl Ann Kary

During the January 2015 professional development event, Cheryl Ann Kary, director of the Sacred Pipe Resource Center, shared the importance of recognizing cultural communication differences, and how understanding these differences can enhance communication both inside and outside the workplace.

January 2015 Professional Development

IABC Great Plains Professional Development Chair Janel Schmitz, with Agency MABU President and CEO Mike Mabin. Agency MABU sponsored the day’s professional development session.

January 2015 Professional Development

Jennifer Weisgerber, Bartlett & West, with IABC Great Plains Board President Amber Larson and Treasurer Erin Huntimer.

January 2015 Professional Developement

Attendees Marnie Piehl and Emily McKay, both from Bismarck (ND) State College.