How IC it

What I like in the world of internal communications and employee engagement.

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Looking for an internal comms qualification in 2014?

While you’re planning for your end-of-year review, it’s also time to give some thought to 2014’s personal development plan. For me last year, that meant formalising my experience with a ‘proper piece of paper’ – it was time to get qualified.

I chose the Advanced Diploma from the Institute of Internal Communication and I’m pleased (and more than a little relieved) to have passed with distinction. The Advanced Diploma is one of four tiers of accreditation offered by the IoIC depending on where you are in your career.

I’m an IoIC board director and enthusiastic supporter of all its training but, in the interests of impartiality, other qualifications are available! There’s a great round-up here from Kevin Ruck, a founding director of PR Academy.

As well as my newly minted IoIC Advanced Diploma, I completed Melcrum’s Black Belt programme back in 2008. My team has also drawn on elements of the ‘bitesize’ learning formerly provided by Gatehouse Group and which is now neatly rolled-up into the ‘Accelerate’ package offered jointly by Gatehouse and the IoIC.

There’s no doubt that there’s plenty out there, whether you’re looking for a formal qualification or a workshop on a specific tactical issue from change to web editing.

So where do you start and how do you know what your PDP should focus on?

I’m a great fan of the competency framework developed by Sue Dewhurst and Liam Fitzpatrick via Competent Communicators and the one from the IoIC. Personally I use a hybrid of the two which I’ve tweaked to suit my own circumstances. I’ve carried a paper copy around from role to role – old skool – and admit that I take great satisfaction in highlighting things as I feel I’ve achieved them!

If you work in government comms, there’s a professional competency framework just for you from the Government Communication Network.

So go on – spend the weekend in the company of some of these resources and take your best ever development plan to that annual review.

Stop: grammar time

I read an interesting Twitter exchange of grammatical opinions on the use of apostrophes for clarity, with different views from Engage 4 Success and Mark Shanahan (both well worth a follow). In the blue corner, the idea that an apostrophe in a plural can assist the reader; in the red, the traditional view that plural apostrophes are always wrong.


The link to the ‘helpful’ point made by Engage 4 Success is here on Grammar Monster. There’s a slightly different view from Oxford Dictionaries here.

Now, I might be a multi-faceted comms pro now I’m all growed up, but in my heart I am still the schoolgirl who would cry if she got fewer than 10 correct answers in her Monday spellings (and yes, I would probably have said ‘fewer’ too; I was that sort of child). I’m a grammar geek. I give a silent cheer for a correctly placed ‘only’. I love a good pun. I can wilf away hours reading the glorious linguistic timeslips of Shakespeare Lyrics and the like.

So if I see a fellow comms pro tweet a typo, do I judge them? Well, a bit, I’m afraid. I fully appreciate that our profession has come a long way since we were the in-house editors and we have so much more to offer than our syntax. And yet I believe these skills are our ticket to the game. Only once we’ve cut our crafting chops can we expect to be listened to on the big stuff. That’s why I will (gently, I hope) point out spelling mistakes in emails from my team, and get completely out of proportion if I receive agency proofs including errors. We should be whiter than white. We should be always on. Up with this I will not put.

I’ve pondered whether semantic slippage is acceptable on social media, where ‘ran out of characters’ is a reasonable defence. But spend a few moments reading any heated exchange on Twitter and you’ll soon come across one poster criticising another’s grammar. It’s the grammatical equivalent of Godwin’s Law. So I’m not alone. Good. Pedantry loves company.

Of course, I should end this post by pointing out that I would never do such things.


Brrrrr. It’s cold up here on this high horse. Maybe I should relax a bit… Bazinga. Who am I kidding?!

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