Insights and Highlights

IABC World Conference registration now open: Get the super-saver rate while it lasts!

Register for the 2020 IABC World Conference by 31 December to take advantage of the super-saver rate to save hundreds of dollars.

Join more than 1,000 of your peers for the can’t-miss event for business communication professionals. The 2020 IABC World Conference will take place 14–17 June 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, with a focus on preparing for the future and exploring the latest trends, solutions and innovations in the communication profession.

The annual IABC World Conference is where communication professionals from around the world to meet, network, learn and grow. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or nearing retirement (or anywhere in between), this is the conference you don’t want to miss. If you’re considering attending the 2020 IABC World Conference, you can look forward to:

  • Pre-conference activities.
  • An all-star keynote lineup.
  • Over 60 breakout sessions.
  • Networking events.
  • An interactive exhibit hall.
  • An awards ceremony and gala recognizing and celebrating excellence in communication on an international stage.
  • Professional certification exam opportunities.
  • and much more!

Get the insights you need to make a difference in your career and in the communication profession. After attending the IABC World Conference, you’ll return to work feeling energized and refreshed. And, you’ll likely have made new connections that may become future colleagues, bosses and/or lifelong friends.

Register early to save and to secure your spot among other communication leaders from around the world. Plan to spend four days connecting and learning with the brightest people in the profession and leave with invaluable insights that will help you deliver results.

Special IABC World Conference hotel room rates are available while supplies last. Book your room early, as the conference hotel will fill up quickly.

Not an IABC member? Join now to access the #IABC20 discount.

Register today!

Apply or recommend a keynote speaker for #IABC20 World Conference, 14-17 June, Chicago

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is considering potential keynotes for its 2020 World Conference, happening 14–17 June 2020 in Chicago. IABC is the largest global association for communication professionals, and our last annual World Conference drew more than 1,300 attendees from nearly 40 countries.

Here are the criteria we consider when selecting a keynote speaker:

  • An authentic, dynamic and effortless speaker with a commanding stage presence who is able to connect with audiences in a meaningful way.
  • Proven ability to present to large (1,000 attendees or more), global audiences at commercial business conferences.
  • Knowledgeable about international business with an understanding of future challenges and an ability to speak to the relevance and critical value of communication for organizations.
  • Prepared to offer breakthrough thinking, innovative ideas and creative solutions that will resonate with an audience of international business communicators.

Our theme is Shift: #AreYouReady? We are looking for keynotes who are in a position to help communication professionals to grow their knowledge, shift their mindset and take on new strategies to support their organizations to thrive and grow.

Past keynotes

The keynote speakers for the 2019 conference were Soledad O’Brien, Celeste Headlee, The Corporate Rebels and Peter Sheahan.

Other past keynote speakers have included Maya Angelou, Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, Robert Kennedy Jr., Bill McDermott and Salman Rushdie.

Selection process

Leaders of IABC’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC) will review proposals regularly through the end of this year. Submit soon for early consideration. We typically receive more than 100 recommendations, from which a shortlist of 20 will be developed and 4–5 keynotes selected. The first keynote will be announced in November. We look forward to hearing from you!

To apply or recommend a keynote, please fill out this short form.

Get the most out of your conference experience

If you want to discover how to get the most out of your conference experience, or share the tips, secrets, funny moments as well as the ins-and-outs that you already know, we welcome you to join an engaging and interactive session at the IABC World Conference. Here are all of the details about the session. We look forward to seeing you there!

How to get the most out of your conference experience

Monday, June 10, 2019 7:45 AM – 8:45 AM
Venue: Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Room: Georgia B
The World Conference offers many opportunities to expand your network, gain valuable knowledge, and get in tune with the latest innovations in the field. Start your experience by learning how to get the most out of this event.

Through an exercise in cross mentoring, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other attendees in a warm and welcoming setting, learn about how are IABC supports its community of communication professionals and make some new discoveries along the way. So grab coffee and a bite to eat at the exhibit hall and join us for this early morning session of sharing and discovery!

Here’s what you can expect.

  • 7:45 a.m.—Welcome, introduction, about IABC, Stephanie Doute, CAE, IABC Executive Director
  • 7:50 a.m.—The theme of the conference, a run through the conference agenda options, how to use the app and what you can expect from the conference, Jenifer Bice, IABC World Conference Program Advisory Committee (PAC) Chair
  • 8:00 a.m.—Mentoring activity, Maliha Aqeel, PAC Committee member
  • 8:30 a.m.—Attendees share what they discovered about each other and what they hope to get from the event.
  • 8:45 a.m.—Don’t forget to use the app evaluate this session!

Get the latest news in the World Conference Brief

In the latest issue of the IABC World Conference Brief, you’ll find the latest news and exclusive content related to the event.

If you’re attending the conference, the Brief gives you a sample of some of what you’ll experience. And if you can’t make it this year, you still get the benefit of content that will offer new perspectives on some of the most challenging issues facing the profession.

In this issue, you’ll find:

  • Highlights of the Tuesday keynote with the Corporate Rebels.
  • Options for pre-conference activities, from earning your certification to offsite tours of Vancouver.
  • Articles from conference speakers.
  • Details on the activity feed in the conference app.

You can also catch up on past issues on the archive page.

Interested in advertising in the IABC World Conference Brief? Check out options in the media kit.

Get a head start on the World Conference experience: Download the app

Get the most out your 2019 World Conference experience with the conference app. It has all the important information you’ll need for the event, like the schedule, maps, and speaker evaluations—plus features to enhance your event experience. Here’s how to download it and get started building your schedule, connecting with other attendees, and getting oriented.

Step 1: Download the app.

All registered conference attendees receive an email about downloading the app. The email contains complete instructions for downloading the app and verifying your account. The easiest way to do this it to open the email on the device you’re bringing to the event and follow the steps.

Step 2: Verify your account.

Once you’ve downloaded the app to your device, go back to the email using the same device from Step 1 and click Verify Account to unlock all of the app’s advanced features.

Can’t find the email with the download link? You can also search for “IABC World Conference” in your app store and download it from there. To access all the app features, you’ll need to log in with a verification code, which will be emailed to you (using the email address you used to register).

How to use the app

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can find information about its features by tapping the “How to use the app” icon on the home screen. This section will give you instructions for using features like:

  • Creating a customized schedule.
  • Editing your attendee profile.
  • Evaluating sessions and speakers.
  • Networking with other attendees and setting up appointments.
  • Asking questions during general sessions.

For each new action you take on the app, you’ll earn points in the “Get to know the app” game. Start exploring!

Don’t have iOS or Android? Access all the information through the mobile web version of the app.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver!

Sponsor Insights: Employee communication—An action plan for success

Back when I ran an employee communication group at Verizon, little did I know the position was setting me up to one day run an agency of my own. My whole 20+ year career seemed to be focused on either marketing or employee communication. And more often than not, both. The two actually go hand in hand but, I dare say, employee communication is a tad bit harder. Why? Because you have to fight for every yard gained with little to no budget while, in contrast, marketing budgets are rich and assumed necessary to the success of the business. Let that sink in.

Employee communicators are usually a ragtag bunch, made up of professionals from customer service, operations, IT, HR and the like. With little to no budget you become a pseudo-expert at everything (Photoshop, Illustrator, video, audio—you name it). You take pride in some of the communication that go out and, due to the volume of incoming content, you admittedly tick the box on the others. That all changed for me with one visit to Southwest Airlines Headquarters at Love Field.

What I thought I knew about employee communication changed in a single day while being guided around their facility. From the moment I walked into the SWA headquarters I noticed everything was branded appropriately. There were no one-off logos, there were no special projects with a separate theme, there were no off brand colors; it was as if the marketing team took over employee communication and blended it with the external brand…it all became seamlessly Southwest. The most astounding moment of the day was when the employee communication manager stopped a pilot at random in the hallway and asked him, “What are our three financial goals for this quarter and where are we at with each?” He gave us the complete answer without missing a beat then politely walked off. I was stunned.

The light bulb went off and I made this action plan right then and there:

  • Partner with marketing to get source files of external ads from the agency. This simple act allowed me to create internal communications about the products/services with the same look and feel that our customers and employees were seeing externally.
  • Use freelancers to help create larger projects (i.e. sales incentives, CS initiatives, and overall employee campaigns). The projects MUST align with the brand. Later, I replaced the individual freelancers with an agency once I was able to grow my budget.
  • Align employee communication with sales. After all, what is the sole purpose of employee communication (or any department for that matter) if not to facilitate the success of sales?
  • Ask for more money, and do not accept “no” for an answer. It’s a simple fact. In order to have influence in the corporate world, you need a budget. In order to build a budget, you must show a need for one. That’s where partnering with sales comes in handy. You will need to invest the time and do the research to prove that if you communicate to sales more effectively, sales will achieve “x” lift and it will cost “y.” Then you need to deliver. If you cannot provide a revenue lift number (i.e. sales generator) you are a cost center. We all know how cost centers are viewed.
  • Lastly, it’s all about the brand. The look and feel of the communication should be in alignment with the brand. No more department logos, no more special logos, no more sales meetings with whatever theme the production company thinks up. No more one-off projects. It all must not only be aligned with the brand, but also must provide value to the end user. There is a lot of useless content floating around corporate America, and without a plan to fully address the dissemination of content you will be forever spinning your wheels.

It’s really all about alignment but be prepared to work hard and face resistance along the way. However, the end result will be a more efficient, effective and streamlined way of communicating to all employees. The goal, as I see it, is to have every employee saying exactly the same thing when asked a question. I often think of that pilot’s answer; that is employee communication at its best.

Sponsor of the Excellence Gala & Closing Keynote / Balihoo, has one mission—bringing employee communication to life. Think of them as the creative partner you have always wanted to handle corporate events, media & animation, employee engagement and videos.

The Balihoo Network is comprised of top-notch creative and production experts, copywriters and artists. They put only those specialists on projects who are skilled at the particular delivery methodology each project requires, no apprentices, junior associates, or people who want to “learn on the job.” Whatever the project or professional dilemma is, Balihoo has a solution. Just as important as who is viewing the creative is who is behind it—don’t settle when it comes to communication projects.

Author / Michael Bly is the creative director for Balihoo Productions, an employee communication agency.  He has worked in the global marketing and employee communication fields for well over 20+ years with corporations such as Verizon, Level 3 and AT&T. Bly holds an MBA in global marketing from ASU—Thunderbird.

Sponsor Insights: Leadership engagement made easy using Yammer (or enterprise social)

We live in an age of digital disruption. Effective, resilient organizations—the ones that will survive and thrive—will be organizations that are inherently creative and innovative. And that creativity and innovation will be driven by an engaged workforce and a new culture of work. We encourage leaders of organizations to be social, mobile and transparent, yet many leaders didn’t get to where they are today by being those things.

Companies with higher engagement report higher profits, as well as improvements across the scorecard such as better employee retention, customer satisfaction, and sales metrics. Sadly, employee engagement is low worldwide, despite many leaders recognizing that they must transform the way their teams connect to foster open communications and engage everyone, from the executive suite to Firstline workers.

There’s opportunity for leaders everywhere, regardless of their relative place in the org chart, to connect and engage their workforce by creating an executive communication plan and sharing that plan at scale. To do so requires a comprehensive game plan that includes a mix of events, blogs, video, news, and resources—all promoted across intranet sites and social enterprise channels. Luckily, you can do this all with Yammer.

Create a CEO connection group

Leaders need to inspire, guide, and align a workforce to the mission and core purposes of their business. If your organization doesn’t already have a dedicated space for the CEO and their team to connect with the broader employee base, start by creating a CEO Connection group. This encourages ongoing two-way dialog between employees and leaders and gains trust that leadership is interested in feedback and improving the employee experience.

Use this dedicated channel for leaders to post what is top-of-mind, address any current issues, share strategy for product launches, and discuss highlights and learnings from customer visits. Prompt leaders to share photos, videos, and updates from their mobile devices while they travel or provide more detailed messages from their desks at the home office and reach their entire employee base to build and reinforce a sense of culture and shared initiative. To see how this works in the real world, check out this interview with two executive leaders and what their personal thoughts and insights are to using Yammer.

Use the Yammer conversation as part of your next all-hands

Additionally, leaders can work with corporate comms to host Q&As—either live-streamed using Live Events in Yammer or virtually using YamJams or an AMA style event for real time engagement—both of which are accessible from any device. Employees can learn from leaders, share feedback and ideas, and ask questions. The leadership team can respond and provide their point of view, directly addressing what’s most important for employees.

This type of engagement removes the distance between remote and geographically dispersed employees and leadership while co-creating culture and taking steps towards reaching the company’s human and business goals. Afterwards, the conversation and learnings continue beyond the event timeframe. This unlocks the event for employees in different time zones, offering the ability to watch and participate via recordings, translation services, mobile viewing, search, and even transcription, all of which are now possible with Live Events in Yammer.

Encourage leaders to ask big, open questions

Tools like Yammer democratize opportunity to contribute. Everyone is given the power to share, ask, and learn—meaning that crowdsourcing, ideating, driving innovation, and taking the pulse of the employee base becomes natural. To help get the wheels in motion, encourage leadership teams ask big, open ended questions and promote these events throughout all levels of the organization.

Asking questions regarding process or product improvement, servicing ideas, solutions to assist customers, or new innovations that haven’t been addressed can spark feedback from all corners of the organization. Employees can post and reply and provide ideas from their own experiences and daily work expertise, creating the opportunity for unexpected innovations and solutions that could ultimately change the course of the company and the bottom line. Additional strategies, conversation starters, and tactics to spur engagement can be found in the Leadership Connection Deep Dive.

Reply and react to conversations

At Microsoft, we’ve seen success when leaders move beyond simply broadcasting top-down messages and begin to directly engage in conversations. While this can look different at different levels, research shows that adoption increases when executives engage directly in conversations.

In order to achieve this, you, as communication professionals, may need to curate conversations that require attention from your leader and help with messaging. As a rule of thumb, we suggest that for every post the leader initiates, they also give two replies and three “likes.” We’ve seen these simple actions of liking and replying elevate the level of conversation in the group.

Not every post in Yammer warrants a response from the CEO, but a simple “like” can go a long way. The notion that the leaders are reading and liking messages sends a message of empowerment, a nod of encouragement, and conveys that leadership is tuned into the conversations happening around them. These can easily be done through the mobile app while the leaders are on the road. Additionally, we suggest 3-5 posts beyond the CEO Connection group to improve the online presence of the leader across the larger network.


Premium World Conference Sponsor/ Microsoft, is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Everyday, customers across the globe engage and communicate with people across their organizations using the power of Yammer and Office 365.  

Introducing the 2019 World Conference Brief

IABC is excited to announce that we have partnered with B2B publisher MultiView to produce the official e-newsletter for the 2019 World Conference event, the IABC World Conference Brief.

With this customized conference publication, we’ll offer a curated selection of both World Conference news and insights on critical communication issues. If you’re attending the event, you’ll have a head start on the some of the learning you’ll experience at the event. And if you can’t make it this year, you’ll still get the benefit of content that will offer new perspectives on some of the most challenging issues facing the profession. The IABC World Conference Brief will keep you connected to the experience before, during and after the event, from keynote highlights to event photos to insights from speakers.

Look for the IABC World Conference Brief in your inbox every other Wednesday (the next issue will come out on 8 May) and each day of the conference. We’ll also have a couple of post-event issues that will recap key takeaways from this year’s event. And you can check out past issues on the archive page.

For more information about advertising in the IABC World Conference Brief, check out the media kit

Spice up your conference experience with offsite tours!

Come a bit early to the World Conference and you’ll have the chance to experience Vancouver for the first time or like never before. If you’re a foodie, a cyclist, enjoy a great walk or love exploring the world from the sky, you are in luck!

We have something for everyone. Take a plane ride with a stop for a lovely lunch, tour the city on a bike, discover hidden treasures as you walk through town or experience the best food and libations Vancouver has to offer.

This is your chance to connect with your team, meet new people and fill your cup with enjoyment before the start of the event. It’s important to relax and get refreshed before you plunge into some in-depth learning. Don’t miss this opportunity!

These experiences happen on the afternoon of Sunday, 9 June, so be sure you arrive in time. Spots are limited, so don’t wait to sign up.


Learn more…

Add offsite tours to your registration!

Here’s who you can expect to meet at the #IABC19 World Conference

Unparalleled networking with peers from around the world. Inspiring speakers who will change the way you think about your work, and the world at large. A chance to hone your skills and learn about how to meet the challenges of the future from the best in the business. These are just a few of the reasons for communication professionals to attend IABC’s annual World Conference happening 9–12 June 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, with the theme “Think Forward.”


IABC World Conference attendees work in a variety of industries, in corporations, nonprofits, consulting firms, government and as independent practitioners. They practice in diverse disciplines of communication, including public relations, employee communication, marketing, reputation and brand management, media relations, community relations, public affairs, investor relations, and government relations.

2018 World Conference attendee facts and figures

To give you an idea of what’s in store at this year’s event in Vancouver, here’s a look back at some statistics about attendees from the 2018 event in Montréal.

  • More than 1,300 communication professionals attended.
  • 36 countries were represented among attendees, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the Philippines.
  • Most attendees reported working for organizations with 1,000 or more employees.
  • The majority of attendees reported working for corporations.
  • About half of the attendees reported having responsibility for a budget of US$100,000 or more.
  • Corporate communication was cited as the primary function for most attendees, followed by employee communication and marketing communication.
  • Gaining knowledge about trends and practical tools from speakers and networking with peers were considered the most valuable aspects of the event.
  • The majority of attendees reported having 10 or more years of experience.
  • No. 1 reason cited for attending: The content of the sessions.

If you attended the 2018 conference in Montréal, then you know that you’re in store for an incredible experience. You’ll get the latest trends, solutions and answers to critical questions facing the communication profession. Along the way, you’ll make valuable connections that will support you and your career for years to come.


Register today!