P004154_FNM_PortraitsBy Trace Ulland

Maybe it’s the winter grayness. Maybe it’s the annual January desire for improvement. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been staring at a screen trying to create my 2017 plan, and all I have are the words “2017” and “plan” so far. I need a jolt of inspiration. I need some new ideas.

Last year, I found the inspiration I needed right here in Minneapolis.

The first Convergence Summit, a collaboration between IABC MN and the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was born from the need to get a larger look at the communication profession in the age of the internet, YouTube and social media. Communicators no longer control the message. How does that affect the way you do your job? What’s working? What’s not? What does the next generation of communicators foresee?

Last year’s Summit was equal parts thought-provoking and revitalizing. I left with action items I could do immediately (and did). I left with questions for my team to spark ideas that might help us meet our goals (we found several). I left with enough energy to power a small city for several months (seriously, I did).

I’m excited to find the same inspiration at this year’s Summit scheduled for Friday, March 24, at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus. Here is what’s on tap:

  • A keynote from Ed O’Boyle, Global Practice Leader, with the Gallup Organization. This session will focus on the decades of customer research that Gallup has done and will feature insights from Gallup’s State of the American Workforce Report being released in February.
  • A presentation on how journalists are using social media and chat apps in newsgathering and crisis reporting, and how that’s changing the structure of the newsroom.
  • A session on fake news. (Hello, timely topic!) I can’t wait to hear from thought leaders about this phenomenon (trend?) and how professional communicators can work with integrity and build trust within an organization
  • A segment on strategic communication planning, which makes me wish, as I face my writer’s block today, that I could attend right now.
  • A panel on crisis communications, a highly-relevant and always timely topic considering that at any given moment, our organizations could be facing a situation that requires us to think quickly to minimize impact.
    Other topics for the day include career planning, employee engagement, social media and diversity.

Check out the Convergence Summit website for the cost, details and link to register. And, be sure to check back in the coming weeks as new content is added.

Trace Ulland is a past-president for IABC Minnesota and a member of the 2016 Convergence Summit planning committee.

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