Today I’m in Nashville, for Fusion 13, the itSMF/HDI international conference, where at 11:15 a.m. I’ll teach a batch of IT folks how to transform their communication skills. I’ll brief them on using the AMMO tool (audience, message, method, objective), then they’ll practice using it on their business issues.
Fusion 13 is a massive conference — nine tracks (which means nine sessions per breakout period) — primarily hardcore IT stuff. The centerpiece of the program is IT service management, which essentially says that IT needs to be a strategic competency of an organization. I got some exposure to itSMF through its Cleveland local interest group. I attended their conference and was struck by the similarities to marketing, PR or HR conferences: bring us in at the beginning, we can add value, we’re not just tactical…etc.
All of that is true, and my hope is, as (with respect) IT isn’t renowned for its communication skills, that there might be a couple of forward thinking organizations who might like to have me help them address the shortfall. Stay tuned.
My engagement with this conference is a toe in the water for a broader effort to talk less to communications/PR people, and more to people who are in the business — kind of a continuation of the “outcome-focused” measurement that many of us say is missing from PR. I’ve got experience in a number of industries, and worked with the IT department at one global company on a number of initiatives, so it’s hardly a foreign concept.
Banking, of course, is another area of potential application – after spending more than half my career at KeyCorp and NationalCity, having been a branch manager (albeit briefly) and worked in the business of the business, I have a different perspective on communication than a lot of my peers.
In the meanwhile, it’s here in the artificial but stunning confines of the Gaylord Opryland (2800 rooms), carrying the communication ball forward to the unknown realms of IT. Wish me luck.