More Ned’s tips on IABC accreditation

We had a few emails following this blog’s conversation with Ned Lundquist about IABC accreditation earlier this month. Most of them were wondering what warm beer and a vintage MGB had to do with it.

So Ned and I got together again in cyberspace to demonstrate how effective we are at clear communication.

Ned, I hear that one of the big obstacles to becoming accredited is not liking warm beer.

No, you got that wrong. What I wanted you to think I said which is what I meant was that, while you and I may have our cultural differences, as business communicators we share some universal truths wherever we live, wherever we work.

So, becoming accredited is meeting a global standard, not just some local or industry-specific standard?

You catch on quickly, don’t you.

Yes, I’m quite a fast learner. So, what’s the biggest obstacle?

For such a fast learner I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out already.

I’ll take that as a clue. It’s time, then?

Time? Oh, you mean the fact that you need to be "in the business" for at least five years? That kind of "time?"

No, I wasn’t really thinking of that, although it would preclude
a brand new professional starting out from becoming accredited,
wouldn’t it?

Yes, Neville, it would. Although a young professional just starting
out would have an easy go of putting the portfolio together because
they wouldn’t have accomplished anything yet.

I see your point. No, but I was thinking about the time
commitment. Some people are just at a bad time in their career to work
on accreditation.

It’s never a good time, is it? There’s always something to do. Always other priorities that take precedence.

Yes, you’re right, Ned. There’s really no good time to work your way through this process.

I take the other view.

What’s that?

The only bad time is a few weeks before you deliver a baby and the
first three weeks after you get back from the hospital. I’ll say that a
spinal cord replacement surgery would qualify, because you need a few
weeks to recover.

But my point is this. We are all faced with the time famine. The
solution isn’t more time. The answer lies in the fact that getting
accredited takes less time than you think. You are closer to becoming
accredited than you give yourself credit for. So don’t use time as your
excuse, or your crutch.

So what you are saying is…

The time is now.

What time is that?

Are you asking me what time it is?

Time for last orders, I would say.

Time for one more for the road.

Anyway, people think they can’t find the time to do this, and
they’re right. Time isn’t lying around to be found and put to use. But
you can make time, and what I’m trying to say is that you don’t need to
make as much time as you might think.

So, seize the moment?

There’s no time like the present! Get your application in. Make the
personal commitment. Start pulling the portfolio together, and don’t
sweat the exam.

You advise people to not worry about the exam?

That’s correct. There are things you can do to prepare for the exam,
there isn’t one thing in particular on that exam that you have to study
for. One easy thing you can do is work with a mentor, someone who is
accredited and who can help you with advice and comment. We’ve now got
a great mentoring system set up.

Did you study for your exam? How much time did it take?

I looked at the IABC Excellence Study,
and made some notes about the concept of two-way or symmetric
communications. But in all honesty, I did not study for the exam. I did
not take any class or fun shop or seminar. Those things help. I wish I
did take a course. There weren’t any in my chapter. What I’m trying to
say is that you don’t really have to.

Are you saying you didn’t take the exam seriously?

Some people take things a little too seriously. I know one candidate
who brought a box of animal crackers to snack on during the test. It
said "Do not open if seal is broken." She opened the box, and guess

Heh. So, thanks Ned. Until next time. Hey, we’ll do a podcast!

What’s a podcast?

Ned Lundquist, ABC, is Director of Corporate Communications for the Center for Security Strategies and Operations at Anteon Corporation
of Fairfax, Virginia, USA. In a volunteersim role, he is the marketing
director for IABC’s International Accreditation Board. Ned is also
creator of JOTW, the
email newsletter community for communicators who are seeking jobs
and/or have jobs to offer. Written about in the Wall Street Journal and
Fast Company (see my post in August), JOTW now has over 7,500 subscribers.

More information about IABC accreditation:

Here’s a great opportunity to find out more about starting your
journey to become an accredited business communicator – participate in Getting Accredited in 2005: Developing Your Portfolio, IABC’s first teleseminar on accreditation taking place on 19 January 2005. Still time to sign up.

If you’re not an IABC member, here’s information about IABC and how you can join online.