In January 2015, I relocated to Melbourne for a working sojourn, knowing next to no one.
Within a couple weeks, I had a robust business network, a full calendar of coffee meetings, the makings of several partnerships with local communicators, and an invitation to be a guest lecturer at a local university. How? Through IABC.
A new kind of membership value
I’ve been a member of IABC for about 18 years, but the past few months have been some of my most rewarding — because, with the help of IABC Victoria, I’ve truly put the “international” in our international association. Sure, I’ve been to a few IABC World Conferences over the years, but it’s quite a different thing when you actually get to experience IABC in a different country, like I did as an American in Australia.
When you connect with IABC in a foreign city, you get to look at our profession through a new lens. In my case, that lens was filled with lovely river walks, botanical gardens, trams, trains, the Australian Open tennis tournament, strong coffee and other cosmopolitan charms of Melbourne’s CBD — not to mention copious Tim Tams. You also get to learn fun foreign phrases, like argie-bargie, footy and flat white.
But, best of all, you get to have face-to-face relationships with like-minded communicators, and who knows where those relationships can lead?
It started with Twitter
For me, the connection started online — and continued in person. As I settled into Melbourne, one of the first things I did, on somewhat of a whim, was send a tweet to @iabcvic — just to introduce myself and perhaps meet some other communicators.
That whim became a windfall, because Nicole Matejic, who was monitoring the chapter’s Twitter channel, immediately greeted me by scheduling a coffee with a few Melbourne communicators. That welcome-to-Melbourne coffee date turned into many more. And almost overnight, I had a thriving professional community.
Thanks to IABC, I have strengthened my communications knowledge by learning about challenges and opportunities in other parts of the world. For example, I talked with Zora Artis and Damien Batey about the “translatability” of communications — in meaning, nuance and usefulness — from one country to the next. I talked to Wayne Aspland about brand story and employee engagement. I enjoyed talking to Justin Rogers about effective communications for elder citizens — and how those communications affect elders’ perception of themselves. It was great talking to Jason Leigh about PR in the public sector.
And that’s just the beginning. Based on relationships through IABC Victoria, I also have been able to:
- Partner with a Melbourne digital strategist to develop a solution for a client.
- Share my point of view on Nicole Matejic’s podcast.
- Attend a great panel discussion on crisis management, hosted by IABC Victoria.
- Learn about cool chapter programs that I can take back to IABC San Diego.
- Cultivate great relationships with new business partners, potential clients, subject-matter experts and friends—which are continuing today.
- Write this very article, which is another great way to stay connected to a new community of friends and colleagues who have been important in my personal and professional life.
It has been such a pleasure to connect with IABC Victoria, and I find myself having a new level of gratitude for our professional organization. I’m reminded that no matter where I am in the world, there’s usually an opportunity to connect with other communicators—and put the international in our international association.
Thanks, Melburnians, for the warm hospitality and the opportunity to know you.
This blog was published by the International Association of Business Communicators and by IABC-Victoria.