Angela McManus, Communications Manager at the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, writes about attending Hospice Comms Day last year, the annual event organised by Hospice UK for communications professionals to share tips and learn new ones. Here Angela tells us what she gained from the day and why she is encouraging colleagues to attend this year.
A head full of inspiring ideas and a notebook crammed with the contact details of colleagues up and down the country were the two things I brought back from the Hospice UK Comms conference.
We all work incredibly hard to shout about the work of our hospices, so the chance to spend a day with our counterparts was too good an opportunity to miss. Few of us have the luxury of being part of a bigger comms team, many of us are the only comms member of staff in the hospice – so sharing experiences is an unimaginable, worthwhile support.
That word – support – is incredibly important and really summed up the day for me.
I was invited along and asked to join a panel discussion on approaches to storytelling, and as a former journalist it was a subject close to my heart.
As talk flowed and ideas were shared it was clear that no matter how big or small our hospices, we were all incredibly passionate and committed to promoting patient and family stories to raise awareness of palliative care. And finding innovating and exciting new ways to do just that.
Top tips on campaign concepts and story ideas that worked well were passed around – along with recommendations for digital approaches to get the best results.
Ideas were scribbled down, experiences shared and friendships forged over everything from where to get free music to use on films to the best apps for social media.
And how liberating was the segment on comms fails? We might not want to admit them but how grateful were we to those who were bold enough to tell their stories? Cue respect, laughs and sighs of relief all round. We all have a bad day now and again, we are all human.
Keech Hospice in Luton was our host last year, easily reached with an early morning flight from Glasgow. The catering team did a sterling job of keeping us fed and watered through workshops looking at what makes a good story, internal comms and social media, while keynote speakers shared words of wisdom on capturing and telling stories.
Inspiration, motivation and empowerment were the feelings of the day that we all took home. Even a lengthy delay on our flight back to Glasgow did not stop my other Scottish hospice colleagues and I from making the most of that time to continue the conversation.
I cannot recommend the event highly enough – if you do comms work for a hospice, book now. Do not miss it.
Hospice Comms Day takes place on Thursday 12 July at Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport. For more information and to register by July 6 visit Hospice Comms Day 2018