How to Run a Successful Special Interest Group

Back to Blogs By Lauren Girdler, Director, SIGs Posted: December 10, 2019

There’s a communications topic you feel passionate about. It’s something near and dear to your heart that you want to discuss with a cohort of like-minded comms folks. So why isn’t IABC/BC planning an event about it this year?!? 

You could yell and scream and cry and hope that someone, somewhere, somehow solves this problem.

…OR you could start a Special Interest Group (SIG) of your very own!

Suddenly you are the one choosing the topic, time, and location for a “meeting of the minds”. And, since you and your topic are so great, others are going to want to join in the discussion too.

Wait, what’s a SIG?

  • Small, informal discussions of 10-20 people related to communications and marketing.
  • No presenter, no technology required!
  • Intended for mid – senior level communicators who can provide a little bit of “peer mentoring” for each other.
  • A place where attendees learn from each other and share experiences and insights from their own professional backgrounds.
  • A great networking opportunity to meet others who work or have an interest in the same field of communications and marketing. 

SIGs Sound Cool! Now What?

First and foremost, you’ll want to check out the IABC/BC SIG page to find out which SIGs already exists and who the Chair(s) are. 

Perhaps you might be able to get involved with an existing SIG. 

special interest group

Photo from a recent Internal Communications SIG led by IC Thrive and hosted at Bananatag.

Can’t find a topic or location that fits your vision? 

Then it’s time to develop a SIG to call your very own. 

You’ll want to reach out to our SIG Director to discuss the nuts and bolts: 

  • Your SIG will need a title and description. (What’s it about, where is it located and who is it for?) 
  • We also want to know more about YOU, the Chair. A brief bio is always helpful to let others know what you bring to the table. (See what we did there? Chair? Table?)

This SIG is yours to organize, but IABC/BC is here to help you fill the seats! Here are a few other items to consider:

Location

SIGs should be in a casual setting. Consider the time and day of the week of the SIG you’re hosting. If you’re aiming for the after-work crowd, then chatting over dinner at a restaurant is ideal, and you may want us to cap registration at 10 or so people. (Naturally, all guests would pay their own way.)

If you or a colleague have an office available, great! But keep in mind that SIGs are not meant to be full-fledged events, so avoid presentations, and keep in mind that guests should bring their own food if you’re hosting the SIG over dinner. If you’re able to provide light snacks, great! But you shouldn’t be providing a full meal. 

Promotion

IABC/BC promotes all SIG meetings through email, website and social media channels.

Ideally you will plan your SIG at least 4-6 weeks in advance. This helps us better promote everything to maximize coverage for the world to see. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Sitting around hoping a topic will be addressed at “some point in the future” is SO 2019! Let’s start planning your SIG for the new year so you can meet your peers and learn and network from a crew of knowledgeable comms professionals in your own backyard. 

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