IABC World Conference: Transforming Business Writing with Quantifiable Metrics

In late June the VisibleThread team attended the IABC World Conference in New York. Thank you to all the fellow sponsors and the hosts of the event. It was a week of eye-opening insights amongst the colorful backdrop of Times Square.
Micheál McGrath

Head of Marketing

3 min read

IABC serves people in the field of business communication. They support their members with shared best practices, in-depth learning, and career guidance.

We were there to highlight the benefits of our VT Writer platform. Every employee across a company can use VT Writer to:

  • Score content
  • Address challenges with different writing styles
  • Drive a single tone of voice in line with the company brand
  • Drive team alignment and remove friction

ROI of Clear Communications:

David Grossman reported in a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees. Each cited an annual average loss per company of $62.4 million because of poor comms to and between employees.

A VisibleThead customer has seen an annual time saving of $947,000 across 100 employees. Poor business writing can cause considerable impacts to a company. Clear communication is not simply a nice to have but a requirement. 

IABC’s audience shared a lot of the same challenges, here are my top takeaways:

  1. What did we learn during the pandemic? Caroline Sapriel, CS&A, and Stephane Prud’homme, CEO, Credibility Institute presented their strategy for crisis comms. The impact of a crisis in recent turbulent times has resulted in considerable change. We’ve seen the key role of the communicator during this period. It’s clear how vital they can be in reducing risk, costs, and project overruns. Caroline and Stephane asked a very simple question. What is the one thing you can’t sacrifice in a crisis? The audience in that session agreed it’s the trust of the customer and/or your employees. Communication must be clear even if you don’t have all the information. Avoiding confusion and doubt must be an objective.

  2. Who’s holding the pen? Frank Shaw, VP of Corporate Communications in Microsoft – his refreshing keynote was honest and impactful. He spoke about strategic collaboration in companies around clear messaging. Poor line manager comms is always a pain point in large companies. Frank expressed his belief in empowering people to communicate. He believes it needs to come from the top in terms of a strategic position or initiative. Who’s holding the pen? Is a concept that puts the onus on the leadership to think about the writer in different moments. Are we empowering our people to succeed? Communication is essential to every business. Companies can’t afford to use disjointed communication tools. Lost sales, employee turnover, and customer complaints are by-products of poor communications.

  3. Great communication brings a sense of calm and creates an efficient and engaging workplace. Jenni Field, Founder of Redefining Comms hosted a fast-paced workshop on chaos from poor communication. She raised questions about what causes chaos. Lack of ownership, misleading comms, and leaving room for interpretation are often root causes. Zora Artis, CEO, of Artis Advisory curated a Framework for Campaigns with VisibleThread. Available to download for free. She suggests answering these five questions before writing:

    1. What you are trying to achieve
    2. Whom you need to reach
    3. What are the triggers for action
    4. How to approach
    5. What are the outcomes you desire

  4. How to connect with leadership? This is a well-documented concern for communicators. Robin McCasland, Blue Cross Blue Shield showed how data has led the way in her career. Robin spoke about consistency of reporting and highlighting areas where her team is making an impact. Making the data show the impact of communication in her company. Highlighting problem areas but also growth.

To conclude, our time with IABC was very impactful. We look forward to meeting and working with their members again. Clear and effective writing has never been so important. We look forward to partnering and supporting companies with objective metrics and improved business writing.

P.S. Here’s how my blog scored with the help of VT Writer.


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