They say you should do one thing every day that scares you. Well, on CommsCamp day I did a thing that was massively scary for me. I stood up in front of a crowd of people and asked for help.
CommsCamp is a public sector communications unconference. An unconference has no set agenda. We, the delegates, made it up when we got there. Because the outcomes from an unconference are whatever you want them to be.
When you start an unconference, after the obligatory introductions, you form a queue and pitch your idea to the rest of the room. As long as some people look interested, you’re on. Rock on.
I went to CommsCamp last year, but having worked in speechwriting and organised conferences before, I found the idea of an unconference just too chaotic, so I used the day to network and add into the sessions. This one was going to be different.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, the main part of my job is helping people use social media in their day to day work. So I was looking at setting up a buddy scheme within BIS to do just that - to help. Whether that be giving someone 5 minutes to explain Twitter or helping someone set up a LinkedIn profile, it’s about having a digital buddy outside the comms team. So I asked the room if anyone was interested in giving me advice and support in my venture. They were, so my session went ahead.
I had a small (but perfectly formed) group of people get together. Some of them were just starting to look at embedding digital communication into their organisation (namecheck: @jamieofficer - don’t wash your chicken people!) and some were connected to BIS and told me lots of useful things about the BIS family (namecheck: @JuliaRuane she’s all about skills). And some people were there just as cheerleaders to say - ‘you know what, it’s a fab idea. Do it.’
And so we are. The recruitment for digital buddies starts soon, and we’ll be launching the scheme in Digital Fortnight, which happens at the beginning of October.
So the lesson here was one of confidence. If you think it’s a good idea, it probably is. So try it.
There were, of course, other things that I learned too…
- the gap between being a content editor and content designer isn’t anything to do with skills, it’s to do with mindset
- we government communicators should always be asking ourselves if 1) there is a user need and 2) the government should be providing that service
- thunderclap is a very useful and credible tool for important messages, when used in the right way
- contacts are essential to my job - you know who you are
- if you eat 3 pieces of cake, you will put on weight at your next Slimming World weigh-in
But the main take-away was confidence.
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