Why I Loved CommsCamp13

So on Tuesday 26th February I attended CommsCamp13, organised by the skilful Ann Kempster, Dan Slee and Darren Caveney. You can read more about the event here in preparation for your attendance at #commscamp14. (Did you see Dan, Ann and Darren twitch then?)

A good way for me to organise initial thoughts and feelings is in a list. I like lists. Lists are good. So here’s my take home list from the event.

  1. I’m not corporate comms, and I must remember that when I am undertaking my frontline comms work. I have different resources and (lack of) skills so can’t possibly do as much as corporate team can and I must remember that, but I wonder if the payoff for this is that it might give me a little bit more freedom with the digital comms work I do.
  2. Because I’m not corporate comms, or in fact a comms professional, a lot of what I heard was new to me. It might not have been new to the more experienced comms professional, and the more experienced comms professional might be frustrated by this. But it’s important to remember camps cater for all. You don’t have to be operating at a particular level, or have a certain amount of experience in something to be able to participate. And if you don’t get anything from a camp you need to ask yourself why, not question others.
  3. I love having lots of notes (more lists) to follow up, things to explore, discover. New tools which can enhance my practice and service. I have lots of notes from CommsCamp. This is good. More learning.
  4. I know I have been very lucky to have a supportive, encouraging and inspiring corporate comms team. They are not blockers, but enablers. I don’t thank them enough so thank you Nigel Bishop  and Jon King
  5. It’s good to meet people you know through social media, people are lovely.
  6. It’s also good to meet people you don’t know but can get to know.  
  7. I was pleased to see a session pitched on frontline services. Frontline is always my ‘What I want from the camp’ word when we are doing the group introductions. There is a lot to think about in sharing the sweets to frontline services, but equally important for those frontlines are aware of the work and dedication involved. It’s not a quick win; you’re not going to get instant pay back. It takes time, and it takes time for a frontline service to find its voice. But there are lots of good examples out there. One of my favourites are the poetic tweets and photos of piglets from Acton Scott Museum  
  8. I had a Dan Slee hug. It was as good as you imagine.
  9. I believe that no matter where you work in an organisation, or what your experience is, we all have a comms role to play. We should all be professional enough to appropriately represent the organisation through our communications, and whether that is through social media or face to face we need to support staff in developing comms skills.
  10. It was good to attend a camp which didn’t just focus on social/digital media. I attended a session on what to do when your comms team is slashed in half, pitched by the ace Banana Muffin maker Rebecca Crosby . We are all facing cuts to staff and the sessions talked about a lot of the issues facing many a team manager in local gov. Diversify or die.
  11. I also attended a session run by the Jools Holland sounding Simon Booth-Lucking of Claremont Comms He started talking about online dating and at first I was a bit sceptical – mainly because I thought there might be role play involved, but the session focused on listening and monitoring customers was one of the most useful sessions I attended. You can have a look at the slides here
  12. Cake is a very sociable thing and a big thank you to all who baked some scrummy offerings. You are all stars.  And a big thank you to all who ate. After some last minute donations you raised £70 for Alcohol Concern and Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Kate Bentham

Thursday 28th February 2013

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