APComm Virtual Academy - taking the presenter plunge
By Katy Busby, Internal Communications Business Partner (Frontline Policing) at the Metropolitan Police
I enjoyed the March 2021 APComm online learning week, where colleagues from the Met had presented. This year I wanted to join in as a presenter as well as participant. So when our deputy director asked for suggested topics I put myself forward. I forgot about it for a while and then got a bit of a surprise when my presentation was scheduled. I was especially looking forward to APComm online this year, as I missed out on the November in-person conference due to COVID :-(
My topic focused on something I'm really passionate about: public protection internal communications and how I have worked with the business to meet their objectives.
So to the preparation, which is key – we all know understanding your audience and tailoring the message is crucial. I attended a great course on “Growing your own Gravitas” in terms of presenting and networking etc., so I was able to draw on some of this. I started looking at what content I already had, how I could structure the session within the time, as well as making it engaging with a Q&A at the end. I was lucky that I had a few years’ worth of content and experiences to talk about, including a fantastic film which we had developed in house. I linked in with a few colleagues to see what they thought about my draft and ran through a couple of practice sessions.
Although I was nervous in the run-up I felt better once I had planned in time to prepare and practice. Once it got to the day I felt as ready as I could be and was only really nervous about the tech set up. I gave myself lots of time and went to the room early to do some breathing exercises, as well as check out how co-operative MS Teams was going to be!
Luckily the tech set up all went smoothly and Ruth was across the way from me at New Scotland Yard in another room chairing the session. I was pleased I had practiced the timings and tried not to talk too quickly. I think the content #slidelink# on APComm website# came across well and I was pleased it generated some really insightful questions.
One good thing for my nerves, was that I couldn’t see how many people had joined up, which I think was around 80. As I had been preparing the presentation I had reflected on how it would've been stronger if I had more qualitative and quantitative metrics in terms of evaluation, which is always a challenge, often due to time and budgetary constraints. As an added bonus I’ve ended up with a network of contacts who are interested in public protection communications and we’re having a virtual meet-up in May.
If you're still not sure whether to put yourself forward next year but have a good idea for a topic, I'd say go for it! The chairs and participants are a really friendly and supportive bunch and it's great to share good work and ideas and learn from others at the same time.