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European Communications Summit 2017

Joanne McCarthyJoanne McCarthy·
European Communications Summit

Having been in the internal communications game for a number of years now, there are several flagship events and trade shows that Poppulo attends annually. While it’s always great to meet old friends and familiar faces, it’s very exciting when we venture into new territory, as we did when we attended the European Communications Summit (ECS) in Brussels, Belgium on June 29th and 30th.

Hosted by the European Association of Communications Directors (EACD), this was the 11th year of the ECS. Seen as the flagship event in the European calendar for senior, director-level communicators, some 600 communications directors attended the event from all over Europe.

The event is held in very high regard and we were delighted to meet with people from almost every country in Europe.

The event organization and execution was second to none, and the venue was perfect. The content was decent and varied, but the main attraction was the quality of attendees that we had the opportunity to mix with, share ideas, collaborate and connect with. The level of attendees was remarkably senior and from very diverse companies.

We had the opportunity to meet with people from all parts of Europe: from Sweden to Slovenia, from Bulgaria to Belgium. Companies represented included Coca Cola, L’Oreal, Dell EMC, Deloitte, GSK, Heineken, Vodafone and Johnson & Johnson, as well as a very strong representation from EU bodies. It made for an interesting mix, and plenty of interesting conversations.

The two days were packed with a busy agenda of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, awards and case studies, capped off with a great networking evening on the Thursday night.

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My two highlights were:

  • Cyriel Kortleven, global speaker and author. Cyriel did both a keynote speech and an interactive session to show how positivity and creativity can be harnessed and used for the good. A memorable ice breaking exercise that he asked the audience to take part in was the power of using the phrase ‘yes and’ rather than the negative ‘yes but’ when listening to someone else’s ideas. He showed how using the simple phrase ‘yes and’ to encourage and foster ideas can promote an atmosphere of creativity, innovation and productivity in a room.
  • What is the ideal leader? Interactive session by LEGO Certified Professional Dirk Denoyelle of Amazings. Dirk has the enviable title of being one of just 15 certified Lego professionals in the world. Attendees at this session were broken into groups who were asked to use Lego to build what they saw as the ideal leader. It sounded like it would be a bit of fun to break up the day and spark a bit of creativity, and that’s exactly what it was: a thoroughly interactive, enjoyable and creative session that sparked plenty of interesting conversation and insight.

Other interesting topics covered included:
Secrets of the best speeches, by Luis Arroyo, President of Asesores de Comunicacion Publica
Preventing a reputation meltdown with effective stakeholder engagement, by Caroline Sapriel, Managing Director CS&A
Communications lessons learned the hard way: takeaways from the votes for Brexit, Trump and Macron, by Frederic Paillet, Senior Vice-President Reputation Squad.

For more information on the European Communication Summit, see here: https://www.communication-summit.eu/programme/


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