ABC 2013 in New Orleans: A Jazzed-up Conference

After every annual Association for Business Communication conference, I say, “Wow! That was the best one yet!” But the one that was held in New Orleans this past week was truly exceptional.  Program chairs Jennifer Veltsos and Sandy French and ABC Executive Director Jim Dubinsky pushed the annual conference up to a whole new level.

Here’s why:

–Over 300 presenters shared their expertise in business communication research and teaching.

–The attendees represented 20 different countries from all around the world.

–For the first time ever, presenters could elect to have their proposals peer reviewed. Eighty-nine people took advantage of this option, and 54 reviewers gave them feedback.

–For the first time ever, there were poster sessions in addition to panel presentations. At designated times, attendees could visit the poster area and discuss the presented research with the researcher. The posters were on view during the whole conference for everyone’s benefit.

–Attendees could download a conference app that enabled them to view the program, plan which sessions they would attend, see a map of the hotel, and more.

–The conference featured a strong “give back” component. The keynote speakers, affiliated with lowernine.org, donated their honoraria to the recovery efforts in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. The proceeds of a silent auction, a scavenger hunt, and a photo booth also generated over $3,000 for the nonprofit.

–There were bcomm payoffs galore. A panel of Outstanding Teacher Award winners shared their worst teaching mistakes (and the lessons learned). Other teachers shared advice about using all manner of educational technologies and social media, from PowerPoint to Twitter to free tools you’ve never heard of. Researchers shared their discoveries about cross-cultural communication, about companies’ use of social media, about visual design, and much more.

–The social events were lively, and the food was outstanding. Jazz and zydeco bands accompanied the attendees as we ate shrimp and grits, crawfish étoufée, king cakes, and other New Orleans delectables.

ABC has got momentum, and you need to be part of it. Check out the organization (a new website is coming in December)—and plan to come to Philadelphia next October!

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