Getting Chartered

Reading Time: 7 minutes

At the end of January I put myself through a rigorous Chartered Assessment day. No one made me do it. No one paid for me to do it. I did it for myself to prove something to myself.

What is it?

The CIPR is the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. As a Chartered body it can reward members with Chartered status when they prove they have reached a senior level of professionalism in their work. Just as accountants, surveyors, engineers and many other professions have Chartered assessments to demonstrate their ability and commitment to their professions.

For years, getting Chartered with CIPR involved researching and writing an academic paper then presenting it to a panel of senior professionals. It was difficult and a little off-putting for many. So the CIPR reviewed its approach and designed an assessment that was still professionally rigorous but more accessible to everyone, no matter what their route to working in PR and communication. The new Chartered process started in September 2015 with the first cohort of eight successfully passing the assessment in November that year. There are currently 168 Chartered Practitioners of the 10,000+ CIPR members.

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Little Bird is branching out

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It’s been over six years since I started my comms consultancy. And for much of that time I’ve been working with CIPR Inside providing communication consultancy, running the #insidestory awards and continually reviewing and evolving the awards since we launched them in 2012.

On Monday 16 Jan ’17 we held a brilliant judging day as part of the fifth #insidestory awards.  I loved meeting the entrants and judges and hearing their stories. Everyone enjoyed the day.

But now it’s time for me to branch out more with my business. So that judging day was my last task to support the group. The committee are all set for the party when the big news of who wins will be announced. I’m coming too. Just try and stop me going to the zoo!!!

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#my3words – human

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Human is the last of my three words to cover in this series of blogs.

It’s much later than I planned. I’ve been busy learning some new skills and also engrossed with the #insidestory awards judging and shortlisting. So here now, is the third and final instalment of #mythreewords.

We’re human, of course, but often in business we can sometimes ‘forget’ to be ourselves and show our ‘human’ side at work. That’s why this is an important word to guide my business strategy and the year ahead. Like voice and moment, human also has many interpretations for me in my work and personal life.

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#my3words – Moment

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Yesterday I wrote about #my3words. I’ve chosen these words to guide me for the year ahead and beyond. New Year’s resolutions are made with great intentions, then often discarded by the end of Jan because they are too complex, fail to engage or are too vague (be fitter, healthier, get a better job etc…).

So when Chris Brogan’s email landed in my inbox in the new year and he talked about his approach of using three words to guide the year, it made good sense to me. I figure if it’s worked for him for the past 11 years, it’s got to be worth trying it out for myself…

 

My three words are: Voice, Moment and Human. Each has a multi-faceted meaning across my personal and professional life. Yesterday I explained my rationale for Voice – which is a big one for me.

Today I’ll explain Moment.

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#my3words – Voice

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Each new year brings a chance to review, refresh and re-direct your business and your profession.

 

At new year Chris Brogan, CEO of The Media Group invites you to set yourself three words to guide your success for the year ahead. I subscribe to his emails. It’s one of a handful of subscriptions that I enjoy and read. I like Chris’s approach to business and his writing style.

After a busy 2016 building my business, growing my network, learning and delivering a host of projects with a range of clients, I wanted to start 2017 with a renewed focus. When Chris’s #my3words email landed in my inbox, the timing was spot on.

I chose #my3words for 2017 without hesitation.

In no particular order, they are:

Voice

Moment

Human

These words are important to me and I’ve chosen them because they each have multi-faceted meanings and influences for me in both my professional and personal goals for 2017 and beyond.

I’ll explain why I’ve chosen each word in turn this week, starting with voice here.

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What can we learn from a tech start up about being a social business?

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Rarely Impossible is a Mobile app development studio based in Bournemouth. I have met Lee Mallon, the MD at different events like Silicon Beach and most recently All About People in June 2016. Lee has a great approach to business and is never afraid to try something new. Rarely Impossible is a very social business, with an open culture. Lee takes inspiration from other successful businesses he’s learned about on his travels. We have great conversations about work and people doing their work over coffee at these events.

Lee’s most recently featured on BBC Radio 4 and BBC South Today where his approach to work email has been the focus – he’s banned it internally.

Lee’s business is a technical partner, solving clients’ problems with digital solutions. Currently there are 11 people in the team and they are tech savvy and creative group. And it’s easy to say “Well that’s why he could do it”. And yes, you would be right. But it’s his wider approach to his business that I believe means that even as it grows, he’ll keep a cap on email and make its use the exception rather than the norm.

So I went to meet him to find out more. We hoped to natter over coffee in the rooftop garden on the building he shares with a group of other small businesses. We got rained off and headed to the high-gloss ‘boardroom’ shared by all the businesses in the building. What a difference a space makes. Immediately you can feel the change in the way you connect in a different location. Lee is definitely more at home in the relaxed astro-turfed roof garden. (more…)

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All About People – my top 19 tips from two days

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Last week I spent two-day s in the company of some amazing people and heard some brilliant talks at the second All About People conference. The event is for anyone interested or working in the fields of HR, workplaces or communication that have an impact on how people work. I left with my head buzzing with new and inspiring ideas from the many conversations I had. I listened to 12 different speakers over the two days. They covered a range of topics and real life case studies about work, people at work and making work better for people.

I am inspired!

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It’s much less scary when it’s not so big and hairy!!!

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Last week was busy. On Monday I focused on my business development. I spent Tuesday planning client projects. Wednesday and Thursday were spent at the second All About People two-day conference. (It was a great couple of days, and I’ll write something about that once it’s all settled in my head). On Friday, I met up with various people who I’ve enlisted to help me with a new project. It’s a teaching project and it takes me completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve never taught before.

And that’s what brings me to this blog post.

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Half term. Half work. Half play.

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Working for yourself brings a host of benefits, but for me one of the biggest is freedom.

Freedom to work around my client and family needs; freedom to direct the shape of my business; freedom to choose my own development path; freedom to be myself and do the work I love.

Most of the time, this works beautifully.

But Half term school holidays always seem to present a challenge.

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CPD – Why bother and my top tips for pain-free CPD

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Excuse me while I crow, just a little. In the last week I have completed my CPD points already this year (this is not my usual form for getting my CPD done).

Nine months before the deadline at the end of Feb 2017. I have logged enough points on the CIPR UK CPD system to maintain my accredited status for another year. There we go, I’ve said it, no more boasting.

But who cares?

Well you may not, but I do.

And here’s why doing my CPD is important to me.

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Be human

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I recently attended a Once Upon a Time event in Bournemouth. It’s always a good event, held in the beautiful Shelley theatre (once home to Mary Shelley) and organised by the indomitable duo of Mark Masters and Matt Desmier. Between them their contact list must be among the best and longest in the land of digital creatives, communicators (of all breeds) and entrepreneurs.

At this latest event we heard from four great speakers which I wrote about last week. One stood out for me for his enthusiasm and energy, and his authenticity and humanity. The person he was on stage, was the person I imagined he’d be before I heard him speak, and when I met him a week later for a coffee and to find out more, he was exactly the same.

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Once Upon A Time 6 – the story continues

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Spurred on by own desire to share more about the work I do and the things I learn along the way, plus the fact that I was at an event recently which is all about sharing your great content with your network, I’ve taken some time out to write up my notes and a few tips from that event to share here.

Once Upon A Time’ is a regular event in Bournemouth, focussed on storytelling, hosted by Mark Masters from the ID group. It’s always a good event, great speakers and nice guests. What’s not to like? I went to the first event and this sixth one. They just keep coming with fantastic speakers and opportunities to meet good people.

Four speakers took turns to share their ‘stories’ about why they do what they do and how their businesses have come to be.

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What’s stopping leaders from saying it like it is?

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There have been many organisations caught in the spotlight of the media glare after a crisis in recent years and as each of those stories hit the headlines it has made me think of the people working in those businesses. What must they be feeling?

What an organisation does in a time of crisis is a real insight into their approach to comms.  Are the communications timely, are the messages honest and leadership open, are the messages consistent over time and both internally and externally?

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Making an impact 2015 – a round up of the day

Reading Time: 10 minutes

[att_social icon=”twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/ktmarlow” title=”Follow Me” target=”self” rel=””]It’s no secret that I work with CIPR Inside (the CIPR’s group for internal communication and employee engagement) and support the committee on a range of projects. Well the latest project was the annual internal communication conference. I was very involved in the event organisation, promotion and management on the day. It’s a highlight of our year, it always seems to come around too quickly, I always leave feeling tired but incredibly inspired (I’m very lucky to have a client that is a professional voice for the profession I work in and love!!!). So I’ve just written up the below post for CIPR Inside, but as it’s relevant and interesting for me and what I do in my day job, I’m sharing it here too. And that’s part of a fresh promise to myself to share more of what I do here.

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Futurecomms15: No need to re-write the book, just get on with it

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Katie Marlow recently went to Futurecomms15 and as she works with CIPR Inside to help us communicate what we do, we asked her to share her thoughts on futurecomms. Over to Katie:

Thursday 18 June saw the second Futurecomms event, take place in London at the Crystal. It was a bright day. Glimmering in the summer sun, the Crystal overlooks the docks, with cable cars gliding overhead between the Emirates Royal Docks and Emirates Greenwich Peninsular.

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Some organisations are just like HOME, others feel truly alien.

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It’s true, Some organisations are just like HOME, others feel truly alien. I’ve worked in a couple of odd ones to know that some places of work just make you feel out of place, zapped of your energy and enthusiasm, and plain unhappy. And that’s not good for the organisation or the people it depends upon to be successful. Happily I’ve worked in many more great organisations where people thrive and love what they do. I know where I’d rather be. As a communicator I find the way organisations operate, their cultures and internal communication fascinating. To the point that it’s something I find myself thinking about in the most unlikely places.

I was at the cinema with my children enjoying the film ‘Home’ during the holidays. If you’ve not had the pleasure, here’s a brief synopsis to help you understand the background to my alien thinking and it’s connection to organisations.

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A refreshing change

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It’s refreshing to see that businesses are beginning to take a different approach to their strategic focus. On 19 March I joined 50 or so other interested folk and attended Once upon a time, an event which set out to share examples of storytelling in brands.

I aim to go to an event or workshop once a month. It feeds my inspiration and gives me a new perspective – it’s never wasted time. I really enjoyed this event and was disappointed I could only stay for the first two speakers:

What was the most refreshing thing for me was the honesty and truth from these two brands that absolutely live their values. They are both so different, yet share that passion of what they do. (more…)

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Silence is golden

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I have been very quiet here for a while. I’ve been taking some golden time out to concentrate on my learning and professional development. There’s something I’ve been putting off for too long, and I really needed to crack on with it. So over the last six months I’ve been putting my efforts into my Internal Communication Diploma. It’s been a tough challenge, but one that I really wanted to succeed in. I found the whole process really  interesting and inspiring, I had so many new ideas as a result of the reading and interviews I undertook. I carried out a broad study into the links between how an organisation copes with and recovers from crisis and the strength of its internal communication function and levels of employee engagement. My thinking was based upon the idea that many organisations face crises that arise because of their own action or inaction. ‘Their own culture has left them predisposed to crisis’. (more…)

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Four years on
Sticking to my path

Four years on

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Wow, not sure where they went, but the last few years have been a heady mix of my children growing older and starting school, and my new-found independence as a freelance comms professional. August is a special month for me, kids off school, birthdays, wedding anniversary and my business anniversary too. This year, it’s been four years since starting my freelance life and Little Bird Communication. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. (more…)

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