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 looking forward to seeing you on Saturday 9 October 2021.
We can’t wait to host the event, in person, for internal comms professionals everywhere!
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.
The Culture Club are the company culture specialists who make better days.
We believe that company culture is what sets your organisation apart. It’s your heart, your soul, your pulse, your buzz. So if you need a partner who’ll work with you to inspire, engage and bring about more brilliance in your people, we’re here for you.
Bring your ambitions, your dreams and your challenges and we’ll add passion, ideas and expertise. Then, together, we’ll build your culture through better employee engagement, experience and communication.
Want to create a company people love? Join us at the Company Culture conference, hosted at Kew Gardens culturevist.com/conference.
Support for all aspects of internal communication and engagement, from developing leaders and measurement to delivery of campaigns and flexible interim solutions.
We create award-winning film, animation and design for the UK’s biggest organisations and best known brands. We are storytellers, film makers, animators and designers, with backgrounds in brand marketing, internal communication and learning and development.
SocialChorus empowers companies to work as one. Communicators and leaders can reach, inform, and align every worker, and employees can feel like a part of something greater than themselves.
Media Partner: Communicate Magazine
106 Communications helps ambitious brands to transform engagement – from setting out an organisation’s vision and growing reputation to transforming the way you work and building belonging. Over the course of the pandemic, internal communications has come into its own – and has become relied upon by many organisations to help workforces through the crisis.
We believe it has the power and opportunity to go further – and create and influence the employee experience in a whole range of ways, from building trust with leaders, engaging colleagues in the purpose and mission (from onboarding and beyond), running wow events, creating connections across organisations and encouraging the kind of collaboration and innovation that powers the very best of organisations. We have worked with a wide range of ambitious brands, from Canon and Virgin through to Arriva, Gamesys and SGS, to provide research and strategy as well as award-winning creativity and digital execution.
We run events on a range of topics from D&I to ESG and How to create your own internal communications campaign; find out more at www.106comms.com/events Or if you want to have a coffee and a chat and talk all things comms and engagement, get in touch with Henry@106comms.com
Award-winning creativity built on strategic insight.
We develop strategies, create content and build channels for some of the best-known and most complex organisations in the world, including the LEGO Group, KPMG, Amazon and Kimberly-Clark.
Established in 1964, AB has an unparalleled track record of creating measurable solutions that truly inform, engage and inspire – turning workers into a workforce.
We are an ideas fuelled comms agency. Chock-full of creativity for your strategy, content and everything else to make your people and channels buzz!
CIPR Inside is the specialist group of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations. The group is for internal communication and employee engagement professionals. As part of the only chartered organisation for communications professionals we benefit from the knowledge, support and training that that organisation provides. It connects internal and external communication, in line with the belief that communication should be integrated and joined up.
Raising professional standards and sharing best practice is a core aim of the group and institute. Professionalism and current knowledge are critical to delivering excellent and strategic communications. Our members have access to the knowledge, support and training that being part of a chartered organisation brings.
Comms Rebel is run by Advita Patel. It helps people take the leap to revolutionise the way they communicate in their organisation by helping them use a variety of tools and techniques creatively.
Helping people feel different about work. That’s why we’re here.
Who are we? We’re Gallagher – Employee Experience & Communication, and we’ve been helping employers engage, motivate and inspire their people for more than 20 years.
The perfect blend of large consultancy and agile agency, our 150-strong multinational team of passionate employee communicators works with iconic brands to reach 10 million employees every year – and our State of the Sector report has been a consistent, single source of truth for what’s hot and what’s not in internal communication for over a decade.
Guild – The world’s best messaging app for business.
Guild is a messaging app designed for professionals and businesses who want the simplicity and ease-of-use of a consumer messaging app, but with the privacy, legal compliance, control, sophistication and service you’d expect for business.
Guild is ad-free and has personal (free), business and enterprise subscriptions.
Guild is a safe space for professionals to connect, communicate and collaborate to progress their careers and build valuable networks.
ICology brings together passionate internal communicators who are ready for something new. This thriving community is leading the change in our industry and is built on a foundation of inclusivity and accessibility.
We value perspectives and ideas from around the world and at every career step. This is an adventure you want to take with people you want to meet!
At Inspiring Workplaces™, we believe in recognising and shaping the new, forward-thinking organisations of the future. By shedding the light on these innovative workplaces, we help to encourage positive change in workplaces as well as provide a source of inspiration and education for those who seek it.
We rely on the engagement and commitment of our community of Inspirers to create a movement that changes the world for the better. No matter where you are in the world; whether you work in HR, Comms, Culture, Engagement, Experience, D&I, Brand, Wellbeing, Finance or C-Suite; whether you lead your organisation or just your team, whether you’re a one-man band or a multinational, you have a home in this community as long as you want to inspire positive change in the world.
As the only professional body dedicated to internal communication in the UK, we exist to help organisations and people succeed through promoting internal communication of the highest standard.
We’ve been driving standards for over 70 years, through our qualifications, leadership and communities. We are the voice for internal communication, driving the agenda and building a movement of passionate, dedicated professionals.
Because how we communicate at work matters. Because #WeMatterAtWork
The conference for comms and intranet people. Each year we invite practitioners on stage to share their expertise via laser-focused lightning talks.
Intranet Now is about inspiration, conversation, and how intranets are used now within the digital workplace.
It’s run by Wedge and Lisa as an independent, community-led event. See the website for more information.
Let us help you to get qualified in internal comms or change management. Hundreds of people study with us each year. We work with top awarding bodies like the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the PRCA, and the best practitioner and academic minds to develop and deliver courses that meet the challenges facing today’s communication professionals.
Founder Dr Kevin Ruck is editor and co-author of what is probably the most established text book on internal comms: Exploring Internal Communication. Why choose us as your study partner? Our philosophy is simple: we don’t rest until we’ve done everything we can to make sure you succeed. Our students’ consistently high results speak for themselves.
We also believe that studying should be fun. You will make great new friends, study at the smartest venues and in the best online spaces, and learn from the sharpest minds.
We’re the employee experience agency that’s connecting and inspiring people to deliver brilliant business performance.
We blend insight, content and technology to help organisations grow as productive places where people really want to work. From shaping strategies to delivering creative communications, campaigns and channels in the modern workplace, our talented team of strategists, digital developers, designers, filmmakers and writers deliver comms with impact.
What can your business achieve by working with us?
simplycommunicate is an exclusive community that connects passionate people with effective communications and transformative technology for better business results. We support those working in IC, transformation and change through an exclusive, membership-only community with packages to suit all needs.
Whether you’re just starting out or sit at an executive level at the board, we provide you with content, events and access to peers to help you succeed, grow your network and build meaningful relationships. Visit us at www.simply-communicate.com and find out about our next event, simplysummit, our annual 2-day conference on 15-16th November 2021.
SocialOptic harness the power of human data to boost productivity, reduce risk and deliver cultural change.
Our expertise in analysis empowers organisations to understand their people with the right questions – using data and knowledge to engage and work together.
Speakap is a branded employee communication platform, that helps you reach and engage all your employees. As well as providing a better way to communicate vertically and horizontally across the organisation, it also supports on-boarding, training and employee recognition. We have 500 clients including McColl’s, Rituals, IKEA, G4S and Bosch Autocentres. We are live in 35 languages and have six offices across EU and US.
Born out of the frustrations of bad technology getting in the way of important stories, streamGo’s live video streaming helps your message stay crystal clear.
Live video streaming for internal communications can help you;
• Provide the same message to everyone – even at the same time, wherever they are.
• Gather real-time opinions, ideas and questions from your audience.
• Save the travel time and costs of having Senior Leaders out on the road.
Industry-leading, global companies including Pentland and Temenos as well as the UK’s biggest employer, the NHS all trust streamGo to help them deliver their most important stories.
We’d love to help you too.
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