Pre-Conference Workshops

Join us for a day of learning before the Conference officially begins! Expand your learning opportunity through highly valuable workshops and new one on one sessions with seasoned professionals in a variety of areas.

**SCMP/CMP exam is 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on this day**

Tracks: CS = Communication Skills; L&S = Leadership & Strategy; M&B = Marketing & Branding; R = Reputation; E = Engagement

Morning Workshops 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

A. Linking Research to Results: Market Research Master Class (R), Greg Lyle, President, Innovative Research Group

Introduction: Why is your carefully crafted communications campaigns not delivering the results you are looking for? How do you translate the ambiguous conversations of public discourse into actionable insights that drive communications strategies and corporate reputation?

Objective: In this workshop, Greg Lyle will help communications strategists understand how to use data to understand public opinion and drive corporate strategy. Through the use of real-life examples, the session will be illustrated with case studies and examples spanning corporate reputation, branding, and social marketing.


  • Better understanding of the role of research in stakeholder engagement.
  • Know when and how to apply research in a way that delivers actionable results for your entire organization.

B. Communicator as Coach: How a Coach Builds Stronger Teams and Relationships (L&S), Catherine Ducharme, Director, Smart & Savvy Academy + Peter Reek, CEO & Founder, Smart, Savvy & Associates

Introduction: Our workplaces and the people working in them are changing at a rapid pace. The days of leaders telling people what to do is giving way to collaborative partnerships centered on achieving goals. This has huge implications for how communicators lead, communicate and build relationships. Leaders who adopt a coaching leadership style see increased employee performance, retention and engagement.

Objective: This highly interactive workshop introduces the foundational elements of coaching  and equips participants with high-level concepts and basic skills to bring more of a coach approach to leadership. The workshop will be light on lecture and big on practice. Through coaching demos, real-plays and self-directed learning, participants will learn:

  • What coaching is and isn’t
  • The journey of coaching from start to action
  • The power of coaching questions and what questions to ask
  • When and how you can use coaching

C. Storytelling using Proprietary Data: The Lifeblood to Powering your PR and Content Marketing (M&B), Sarah Gooding, Communications & PR Manager, Unbounce

Introduction: According to some pretty smart marketers, including Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media and Steve Rayson from Buzzsumo, proprietary data is one of the most powerful formats for content. So why are more people not doing it? Data helps communicators unearth interesting new trends and challenge information and facts that already exist.

Objective: Proprietary data powers media coverage, evergreen content, backlinks, social sharing and ROI. It works. This workshop will inspire you with real-life examples, a proven framework and actionable, creative tactics you can try out back at the office.


  • Choose the right data ripe for storytelling and media coverage
  • Find or create your own proprietary data
  • Connect your data to relevant outside trends
  • Create visuals that narrate your story for you
  • Pitch data to secure media coverage, backlinks and social shares
Lunch Break 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Afternoon Workshops 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

D. DIY Internal Communications Audit (CS), Priya Bates, ABC, SCMP, MC, IABC Fellow, President, Inner Strength Communcation Inc.

Introduction: Communication strategies should always begin with research, but what if you don’t have the funds to hire an external agency to audit your internal communication efforts or you’d simply like to understand the process and build your research skills?

Objective: As an increased communication focus turns to the internal audience – employees, members, or partners – communication professionals must be able to use research effectively to influence employees and leaders to drive real impact. The data tells a story and positions you as the expert.


  • Set clear goals and objectives that are aligned to business results
  • Learn the basic elements of an internal communication audit
  • Understand tips and tricks for analyzing the data and results

E. How to Get Leaders to Listen to Us (L&S), Angela Sinickas, ABC, CEO, Sinickas Communication Inc.

Introduction: Your professional experience and your title seem to have less impact on getting leaders to listen to good communication advice than you would like. What to do? It helps to speak their language—numbers—to get their attention. And then you need to use more effective techniques for presenting your solutions and being ready to address their objections.

Objective: This session will share examples of how to gather research quickly and effectively to make yourself more credible when you advise your management team. And then participants will have an opportunity to practice role plays to pitch their recommendations to leaders and address the objections they may come up with.


  • Research: ways of doing informal research to identify emerging issues or pretest potential messages, using pilot/control groups to test solutions, using business data from the last time your advice was not listened
  • Consulting: ways to improve listening skills and use the rule-of-3 for probing questions when a leader first asks for our
  • Persuasion: how to present leaders with alternatives instead of only one solution, how to “chunk up” to higher objectives or “chunk down” to attractive characteristics of competing solutions so that you and your leadership feel the right solution has been agreed

F. Hearing From Who Cares: Stakeholder Engagement & the Communicator’s Role (E), Dr. Rebecca Sutherns, CEO, Sage Solutions

Introduction: Engaging people in decision-making that affects them leads to wiser decisions for organizations that people will stand behind. Whether you are the sole communications practitioner expected to lead the engagement process, you hire an engagement specialist to do the work, or you’re a communicator in a large organization that need to work with your engagement peers, this workshop is for you.

Objective: Understand the fundamentals of strategic stakeholder engagement, the planning process and practical tools for designing the public engagement processes – and the role of the communicator and communications throughout.


  • A deeper understanding of why, how and when to engage stakeholders
  • The ability to confidently identify who should be considered a stakeholder
  • Your role as a communicator in the process and outcomes
  • How to combine online and in-person methods to attract and hold people’s attention
  • Access to cases, experts, templates and resources to support
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Agenda at a Glance