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As awkward moments go, it was up there.

I’d interviewed hard hitting journalist and TV presenter Jeremy Paxman for the association’s magazine ahead of his headline act at our annual dinner and quoted him as saying IC professionals were the communications equivalent of second hand car salesman.

He repeated this at the dinner and denied saying the exact words I’d quoted. I sensed a lot of people turning round to look at my increasingly scarlet features and suddenly felt the need to tie my shoelaces under the table.

The moment soon passed, but  Jeremy’s original choice of phrase and general thrust stayed with me. And, you know what, he wasn’t far wrong.

Those were the days when IC for many organisations meant recycling press releases and shoving them into the monthly magazine. The more far sighted corporates employed journalists to give their flagship channel a more balanced, independent approach but in truth, most businesses were content to pretend everything in the garden was rosy and bury bad news.

As someone who recently notched up 30 years in this industry  – and as a former chairman of the association – I’m pleased to say, hand on heart, that the IOIC has helped lead a step change in the way IC people behave and are respected.

As an Institute – becoming one was itself a big stride forward – we have championed the fantastic range of skills our members have and the difference they can make to a business when they are treated with the respect they deserve.

We’re no longer viewed as a poor relation to our colleagues who specialise in PR; we’re no longer accused (in the whole) of producing the corporate Pravda; in 2018 we are recognised as people who add real value (sorry, corporate speak) to the organisations we represent by producing relevant, realistic content.

I’m proud to have been part of this journey and – along the way – to have made so many lifelong friends through my membership at every level of the association.

Now, who wants to buy a second hand Ford?

Nick Andrews
Chairman 2006-2007

 
Paxman – ‘internal communicators are the second hand car salesman of the comms industry’

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