Interest and anticipation for Comms Unplugged is growing by the day. The organisers are working hard behind the scenes to make it a brilliant experience.  This new posts gives more insight into what to expect…

by Sally Northeast

Launching a new idea into the world is a bit like having a baby (which I’ve done – twice!): you’re not sure what to expect, it can get messy, time passes at an alarming rate and suddenly they’re a teenager!

Thus it has been with the birth of Comms Unplugged – a completely new take on the comms conference that combines learning, networking, sharing, chilling and looking after our wellbeing.

It’s an understatement to say that I, and the most excellent team I’m working with, are blown away by the response. 300 Twitter followers within days, 70 expressions of interest within 48 hours, a brand, a fabulous website, people asking for media interviews, sponsors knocking on our door…

When we first discussed it a couple of years ago we were thinking: unconference, coupla tents, a few attendees who play the guitar and fancy a singalong, campfire and lots of fresh air.

Now we have a team of seven comms professionals from different parts of the country (and different sectors of our industry) all beavering away on what’s become a bit of a unique proposal in our working world. 

What is it that’s captured people’s imagination? Who would have thought that the modern comms bod – digitised to the max and all over every bit of tech going – would actually want to be unplugged from their virtual world and in a remote, signal-less field for 36 hours?

To find out the answer we included a sneaky question in our registration form – see what we did there? Bit of early outcome identification to support future evaluation…yeah ok, I’ll stop. You just want to hear what people said, don’t you?

So the most-used phrases so far include:

  • Meeting like-minded people
  • Networking
  • Going off-grid/tech-free
  • Fresh air/outdoors/camping
  • Sharing and learning

People used words like ‘different’, ‘tomfoolery’ ‘new and untried’ and ‘intrigued’ – all things that totally press a comms person’s buttons. Some people had more basic ‘hierarchy of needs’ interests – eggy bread, ice cream, beer. Some people were actively looking forward to the absence of a rolling tweet wall (fascinating for our professions).

But the two I like most are:

  • Connecting with others in ‘real life’ and
  • Sharing, learning and seeing the stars

These say it all for me. We need to be in the world and connected to others in person. The virtual world is central to what we do and how people interact today. But it’s not who we are.

We’re people who want to talk and listen, be together, share experiences and reconnect with each other and the world around us. If we achieve that with Comms Unplugged – and I feel sure we will – I’ll count it as a success.

Check out the website for more info and register your interest for tickets asap too.

And get following @CommsUnplugged for regular updates on the line-up and ticket sales.

Sally Northeast is an organiser of CommsUnplugged and deputy director of communications and participation for Dorset Healthcare and she blogs here.

Comms Unplugged – an event like no other. Chat, listen and learn away from email, WiFi and tech. With live music, food and an overnighter in a beautiful campsite in Dorset.

Follow @CommsUnPlugged for the latest news and updates.

image via History Pics

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

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