Comms Unplugged was the best work-related thing I did last year. Period.

by Darren Caveney

I honestly believe that Comms UnPlugged is the best industry event there is. I feel happy saying that as it is a not-for-profit event. The only people who benefit are the attendees.

Well it’s back for 2020 – slightly bigger and even better. Don’t miss it – I promise you’ll love it. But you might have a doubtful boss to convince? Help is at hand below with this ‘cut out and keep’ letter…

Dear boss

I would like to attend Comms Unplugged this September. It’s a learning and development opportunity I believe I would benefit from. And the wider team and organisation could well benefit from the ideas and inspiration it sparks in my work in 2020 and beyond.

It’s a low cost to attend with tickets between just £80 and £180. And I’d only be gone for a maximum of two days (there are approximately 220 working days each year for me as a full-time member of staff. Those two days are less than 1% of my working year)

It takes place in the beautiful Dorset countryside so would provide a real fillip to my own health and wellbeing.

The speaker line up and learning workshops look amazing and will feature leaders and communicators not seen on the regular events circuit.

I would love to go but sense you may have some reservations.

So here is a quick Q&A which hopefully helps you make up your mind

Thanks ever so…

It’s being held in a field in Dorset? That sounds like a jolly?

It does doesn’t it. That is intentional. How many brilliant learning opportunities have you been to lately which took place in stuffy, predictable venues, bland hotels, or soul-less warehouses?

Research abounds about the benefits of switching off, finding creative thinking space, and taking some time away from our desks, endless meetings, too many emails and never-ending social media distractions. The location has been hand-picked because a change of scenery is important for us all and provides a blast of fresh air for creative work inspiration, away from emails, meetings, screens and distractions.

You can network at work and in your own time surely?

Yes, I do that already. We talk about networking a lot in our industry but the chance to do this in a beautiful location for up to two nights is unrivalled in its opportunities. To talk face-to-face to peers in the sector, as well as inspirational speakers and leaders, about my biggest work issues, barriers and opportunities is unique.

Oh unique – that word is so over-used…

You’re right, it is. But Comms Unplugged genuinely is unique. Actively listening to speakers without the distraction of screens is something we don’t do anymore. Connecting with fellow attendees at the coffee breaks and meal time without feeling the urge to check work emails is now rare. It takes us back to a time before tech dominated our habits and lifestyle choices. And that’s a good thing, right?

And where else can you walk in the countryside, take a yoga class, enjoy fireside chats and listen to live music? That is wellbeing nailed right there. OK, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that bit but Comms Unplugged is deliberately focussed on less traditional wellbeing activities, as well as some more traditional learning workshops.  This is an event organised by comms people for comms people – they understand our world, our pressures and what makes us tick. That’s why the event is designed the way it is.

And where else can I share a coffee and a chat with talented comms professionals without having to dash off for a train home before even getting close to swapping contact details?

Still not convinced? Keep checking back for more on the brilliant keynote speakers and workshops. You’ll not find these people anywhere else on the UK comms and PR circuit.

Do you really feel that stressed?

Yes, I do quite often, don’t you? Last year’s PRCA survey highlighted that a worrying 89% of PR practitioners struggled with their mental wellbeing in the past 12 months. That’s a huge figure.

Remember the stress and wellbeing issues that came up in the last staff survey too…?

We can’t really keep on ignoring the issue and so I want to better understand how I can better manage my own wellbeing plus that of those around me.

It sounds a bit expensive and our budget has been chopped…

Well a day ticket is just £80. Eighty. And a two-night stay is just £180. That includes a camping pitch AND food (I maybe shouldn’t mention the delicious meals cooked up by local Dorset suppliers should I?) That is pretty good value, I think you’d agree?

Oh and nice James will be there serving up the best fresh coffee in Dorset.

But it’s more than that. It’s the longer-term benefits of me attending and bringing those benefits back to my work – my thinking, my approach and my new, wider network of peers who I can call upon for support in the future.

Sounds pretty good?

Can I go please? And why don’t you come along too?

Comms Unplugged runs 10-12 September 2020.

You can purchase your ticket HERE.

Darren Caveney is creator of comms2point0 and owner of creative communicators ltd

Main pic by Phil Jewitt