Unconference for in-house communicators from The IC Crowd
Welcome to The Big Yak’s website. This is the place to discover all you need to know about the unconference for communicators.
We’re delighted to announce we have a new date, Saturday 9 October 2021.
After watching the news and government advice, we postponed The Big Yak unconference from 6 June 2020 and February 2021, to 9 October 2021.
We’ll keep an eye on the advice and make any necessary adjustments, even if this means postponing again, to keep the crowd safe.
As you know, we run this as a not for profit event, so ticket money and sponsorship will stay in the account ready for when the timings kick in around the new date.
Thank you again for supporting the event.
The IC Crowd co-founders.
What we’ve communicated to date
The Big Yak is due to be hosted by The IC Crowd on Saturday 9 October 2021 at etc.Venues in Chancery Lane, London. The first batch of tickets were released on 27 February 2020 and went like hot cakes, selling out in 25 minutes.
The final batch were released on 5 March 2020 and sold out in record time.
If you missed getting a ticket, please add your name to the wait list via this link.
Do Tweet us @theICcrowd if you’ve got a query we’ve not covered.
What is The Big Yak?
The Big Yak unconference from The IC Crowd connects in-house and independent communicators face-to-face so they can learn and network. To yak is a colloquial way of saying to talk.
It has been designed by and for professional communicators. The venue will be in London. This will be the fifth time The Big Yak has taken place, as we gathered comms pros in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
We’re proud to be a different type of event and offer in-house practitioners the chance to shape the agenda on the day (which is what an unconference means) and get help and advice from their peers.
Trust us, you’ll love it!
Feedback from delegates over the years means we know what works and what doesn’t and it’s a format that works.
Who can attend?
In-house internal communicators and independent practitioners are welcome to come to The Big Yak.
This website will be tell you all you need to know and we’ll be updating it between now and the unconference.
This is an event to share learning and experience with other like-minded professionals. Based on feedback, only agencies who are sponsoring are able to attend. As ever, we request a no pitching, selling of services or products to other attendees as this is what makes The Big Yak unique and we’d like to keep it that way.
We will be closely monitoring the attendee list.
Want to know what will be discussed at The Big Yak?
So do we! As it’s an unconference, the content is decided by you, the attendees, on the day.
We’re expecting 150 in-house professional communicators to come together, shape the agenda and enjoy being together.
Here’s the agenda from a previous event – as you can see, it was set on the day:
We want you to feel comfortable, so do come in jeans and trainers or whatever you prefer. It is a Saturday after all.
There will be a place for you to leave coats.
Chill out zone
The Big Yak is an excellent place to network. However, if you need a quiet corner to recharge your batteries, we will have a chill out zone.
If you need a break from networking, we have a quiet space at #TheBigYak. The chill out zone exists for you to charge devices and have a quiet space to think. It looks like this. pic.twitter.com/rsQGCLUuBs
— The IC Crowd (@theICcrowd) May 31, 2018
Make some noise
The venue will plenty of plug points – don’t forget your chargers. See the reviews page of this website to discover what it’s like to attend The Big Yak. We’d love you to join us.
Do Tweet us @theICcrowd if you’ve got a query we’ve not covered on this site.
The venue for #TheBigYak is etc.venues, 50 – 52 Chancery Lane, Holborn, London, WC2A 1HL.
It’s a brand new building and is a stunning location that is centrally located and will allow us to make the most of the whole space.
How to get here on Saturday 9 October 2021
Address: etc.venues, 50 – 52 Chancery Lane, Holborn, London, WC2A 1HL.
Keep an eye on the TfL website to check the latest travel status.
etc.venues Chancery Lane is located just off High Holborn, minutes away from Chancery Lane Underground station.
By Underground: Chancery Lane and Holborn (central line) and Covent Garden (Piccadilly) are the nearest stations.
Option 1 – Chancery Lane
Leave the station via exit 4 and walk up the steps onto High Holborn. Keep walking up High Holborn (keeping the road on your right) for about 3 minutes. Turn left onto Chancery Lane and walk a further 3 minutes. The venue is on the left just over a road called Southampton Buildings.
Option 2 – Holborn
Leave the station via the High Holborn exit and turn right on to High Holborn. Walk down (keeping the road on your left) past the University of the Arts for 5 minutes. Turn right on to Chancery Lane and walk a further 3 minutes. The venue is on the left just over a road called Southampton Buildings.
Option 3 – Covent Garden
Leave the station and turn left on to Long Acre street, then turn right and follow Long Acre, until you reach Drury Lane. Cross over Drury Lane on to Great Queen Street, and keep walking past The Freemasons Hall. Kingsway will be ahead of you, cross over, turn left and walk towards High Holborn – you will see Holborn Station on the corner. Turn right at the station and follow as option 2.
By bus: Chancery Lane is served by a number of bus routes including, 4, 11, 15, 26, 76, 172, 341.
By London Cycle Scheme: There are two “Boris bike” docking stations – one on Chancery Lane itself at Breams Buildings and another a short walk away on Holborn Circus.
Parking: There are many NCP car parks near the venue, the nearest is located on Cross Street (Saffron Hill NCP) with another close by in Covent Garden (Covent Garden, Parker Street).
Sat Nav: 51.517, -0.112442
The Big Yak wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic sponsors.
The organisations who support us aren’t just sponsors, they’re our partners.
They understand the benefit of networking and professional development. We can’t say enough about our sponsors, other than without them The Big Yak wouldn’t be able to happen.
Please look out for them at The Big Yak in 2021 and stop them to say hello as they are supporting the crowd.
Are you interested in sponsoring us this year? We have various packages available and would love to discuss them with you.
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The first batch of tickets sold in record time on 27 February 2020 and the second batch sold out super fast too on 5 March 2020. Thank you to everyone who secured their place.
If you missed getting a ticket, please add your name to the wait list.
Who can attend?
In-house internal communicators and independent practitioners are welcome to come to The Big Yak.
This is an event to share learning and experience with other like-minded professionals. Based on feedback, only agencies who are sponsoring are able to attend.
As ever, we request a no pitching, selling of services or products to other attendees as this is what makes The Big Yak unique and we’d like to keep it that way.
We will be closely monitoring the attendee list. If agencies sign up who are not sponsoring, they will not be able to attend and we will be in touch.
Terms and conditions
We are charging a minimal fee for attendance which is non-refundable. The Big Yak is a non-profit making event. The fee is to deter no-shows as we do have a number of these at every The Big Yak event and it’s not fair on people who are on the wait list who could have attended.
Please see the sponsors page to discover our partners for 2021.
The agenda will look a little something like this.
As it’s an unconference, the crowd will decide on the day what the key topics are you wish to discuss. Everyone has the chance to put their ideas on a post-it note and we co-create the agenda together.
If you’ve not been to unconference before, that may sound strange, but trust us, you’re going to love it!
We came. We saw. We yakked about comms.
Thank you to everyone who attended 2018’s The Big Yak, we had a brilliant day and enjoyed seeing you all having fun, networking and learning about internal communication.
We were joined by 160 internal communication professionals and thanks to our 21 sponsors, were able to enjoy a whole day together. IC pros travelled from near and far to be in London on 9 June, including Cynthia from the Netherlands, Emanuela from Italy and various flights from Dublin and Belfast.
✅ 160 attendees
✅ 21 sponsors
✅ 8 volunteers on the day
✅ Epic swag
✅ “1000 yrs of experience in one room”
Want to know what it’s like to attend The Big Yak?
Here’s a taster of what the crowd has shared from our previous unconferences.
Helen Deverell shared some top networking tips to help comms pros.
The crowd decide the topics they’d like to discuss. In 2018 they were:
|Session 1||Session 2||Session 3||Session 4||Session 5|
|Measurement||Creating a forward-looking culture through open and honest communications||IC role in innovation||How do we show the ROI of IC||Newsletters, do they still hold value?|
|Change Comms||Reviving intranets, O365||Growing comms champion network||Helping Line Managers become better communicators||How do we develop our own capabilities?|
|Crisis Comms||Comms career progression||Working smarter (agile)||Getting executive buy-in||Connecting people to purpose|
|Culture Change||Coaching leaders||Operationalising values and behaviours||Storytelling||CEO comms and corporate reputation
|Remote workers with access to comms channels||Comms strategy||Tackling tech takeover and saturation||Community management and ESN strategy||Internal comms and diversity|
|Engaging people who resist engagement||Remote workers (no access to comms channels)||Remote workers – using line managers||Connecting global organisations||M&A|
Brilliant day at my first #TheBigYak! Can’t believe how many of the topics raised are common to everyone – it’s great to know us IC professionals aren’t alone & all experience similar challenges. Thanks @theICcrowd for organising this – it will stay with me for a long time! pic.twitter.com/i2PIYIHfET
— Becky Handy (@BeccaBoo_88) June 9, 2018
This is to repeat what others have said, but worth saying still. #TheBigYak is a unique event in the #internalcomms calendar. Each one comes with new connections, new learning and new ideas. I value these days immensely – all credit to @theICcrowd for making them happen.
— Oli Howard (@howard_oli) June 9, 2018
What a great experience! So happy I’ve been able to join #TheBigYak with @theICcrowd and a lot of great #internalcomms people. I enjoyed all the discussions and comms chats. Really worth a trip to London 😀 pic.twitter.com/A5qRzbPUvA
— Emanuela Tresoldi (@lella_tresoldi) June 9, 2018
Thank you to everyone that came along today to #TheBigYak – it was a fantastic day and proud to be part of @theICcrowd to be able to bring these events to our industry – I hope you all feel inspired and empowered to take on Monday! #InternalComms pic.twitter.com/0YVlv1qVHo
— Jenni Field (@mrsjennifield) June 9, 2018
— Joanne Howe (@JoanneMHowe) June 9, 2018
Sat on the train back to Wales reflecting on an awesome day at #TheBigYak. Thanks to @theICcrowd for another brilliant event. It’s not every day you get to spend time with people so passionate about #internalcomms that they give up their Saturday to talk shop. pic.twitter.com/mR2MWiRHOT
— Jessica Roberts (@JessRoberts_82) June 9, 2018
Scribbling away in the line manager discussion at #TheBigYak , some great points raised. I’m taking the challenge to protect the time and space managers need to process messages before cascading to teams pic.twitter.com/LwEr5KPcBP
— Vikki Grime (@VikkiG_IC) June 9, 2018
— Russell Cartwright (@hosscartwright7) June 9, 2018
— Katie Marlow (@ktmarlow) June 9, 2018
Ideas for coaching leaders… peer to peer coaching, authenticity, building relationships, safe environment to practice, skill shares, open and honest conversations, find their comfort zones. Be their trusted advisor #TheBigYak #Internalcomms pic.twitter.com/fJfrTtNoYJ
— Cathy Power (@cathypower2003) June 9, 2018
— Victoria Ford (@torfordy) June 9, 2018
Reflecting on today at #TheBigYak – the conversations and advice on IC and meeting loads of lovely comms people. Thanks to Rachel, Jenni and Dana @theICcrowd for organising such a great event xx https://t.co/xkmjgE6nuU
— Trudy Lewis (@lewiscomms) June 9, 2018
Straight back in after lunch at #TheBigYak and here are the topics folks:
– IC role in innovation
– Growing comms champion network
– Working smarter (agile)
– Operationalising values and behaviours
– Tackling tech takeover and saturation
– Remote workers – using line managers pic.twitter.com/LXErGSRK4U
— Leah Bowden (@humanizecomms) June 9, 2018
Similar challenges at this year’s #TheBigYak as last year re #intranets. Who owns it? Collaboration and working with IT, who updates it? Challenges with ownership and content, updating of info, being too far down the Microsoft route. Good session facilitated by @andrewhesselden
— Padraic (@padraic_knox) June 9, 2018