September/October 2010
Elizabeth Trew

Elizabeth Trew,
PIC Director of Communications

We're pleased PIC membership continues to grow and we now have 175 members, up significantly from this time last year. PIC Member Survey results below indicate having a group for independents is often the deciding factor in whether people take out or renew membership in IABC/Toronto.

PIC wants corporate communicators to know about the great talents our members can bring to the table so that we are "top of mind" when they need extra help. We will have a presence at all IABC/Toronto events throughout the year with our new marketing materials "When cloning is not an option" to help promote our members.   
Upcoming PIC Workshops

Want more information about financial planning? Then come to PIC's November 3 PIC workshop, Financial Strategies for Independents presented by Rona Birenbaum, co-founder of Caring for Clients, financial planning with a difference.   

From now until June 2011, PIC workshops will be provided on the first Wednesday of the month, so mark your calendars now! 
New PIC Executive Member

PIC welcomes Patricia Davies as our new Director of Programming, replacing Paulina Callaghan, who resigned from her position because of other commitments. Patricia, of Patricia Davies Communications, has provided writing, editing and consulting services for organizations for 15 years.

Have you attended a presentation or heard someone that PIC members would benefit from hearing? Then, please contact us

Director of Communications
In This Issue (links)
PIC continues to grow
Save the date!
Join PIC's Google group
September program report
October program report
PIC Member Survey results
Quick Links
Tidbits of Knowledge

Check out our Independents Toronto blog for content shared by your peers and event podcasts. Non-members can visit our podcasts here.

Upcoming events:

Financial Strategies for Independents

Writers needed
We'd love to hear from you if you're interested in becoming a volunteer writer for PIC or IABC's Communicator.
PIC's MISSION & The Buzz
PIC's mission is to support independent IABC/Toronto communicators through professional development, networking and marketing.

The Buzz is PIC's e-newsletter, intended to keep independent communicators informed about our activities, share professional development tips from past meetings and keep us aware of what's going on.
Join Our Mailing List!

Are you buying your financial products - a bank for a loan or mortgage, an insurance agent for insurance and a stockbroker for your investments - without having a plan?

Our speaker, Rona Birenbaum takes a holistic approach to her clients' finances, pulling together all aspects of their finances to help them make strategic decisions based on their goals and lifestyle. She will also talk about the pros and cons of incorporation and about developing a defensive financial plan for bad times.
To learn more about this informative workshop, listen to PIC Chair Donna Papacosta's podcast.   

Time & Date: Wednesday, November 3 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm 
Place:            Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Suite 303 

Start a new conversation or join in!

Connect with other independents in the GTA at PIC's Google Group:  The group is open to everyone and approvals are not required to join our group. 

Start your own discussion or contribute to existing discussions.  If you have something that can't wait for the next issue of The Buzz, this is the place to post it.
Martin Buckland


Take Charge of Your Career! 

"You wouldn't hesitate to have your will professionally prepared so you shouldn't hesitate to have your resume professionally prepared," said career consultant and resume expert Martin Buckland at the September 21 PIC Workshop.

Martin Buckland, founder of Elite Resumes, provided the crowd with sound online and in person networking tips. A great elevator speech and having a business card that projects a professional image to employers and clients are also essential tools in the job seeker's toolbox, he remarked.  

As a resume consultant for 17 years, Martin follows resume trends and says what worked ten years ago doesn't necessarily work today. Resumes need to be much more accomplishment-based. Employers want to know what you can do for them.  

Martin recommends having a "STAR" resume to get the attention of employers. Use the STAR formula to build two to three line achievement-based stories.

situation - Describe the situation you were placed in? What did you face?
task        - What were you assigned to do?
A  action     - What soft and hard skills did you use?
R result       - What tangible result did you accomplish (it doesn't have to be monetary)? 

Here's an achievement before STAR: 
  • Increased sales by 145%
Here's what it looks like using the STAR formula:

Susan Percy Gregory
Mind Mapping

Do you have trouble remembering your key points when making presentations?

"Mind Mapping is great way to prepare for presentations," said Susan Percy Gregory at PIC's October 6 workshop. "And it's also helpful for remembering presentations and for speaker notes."

Susan, a Mind Mapping expert and corporate trainer, explained that Mind Mapping is a visual way to capture thoughts and ideas using techniques to connect the left and right brain, helping to improve one's memory.

Mind Map

Mind Mapping involves drawing pictures to represent thoughts, using key words (no long sentences!) for ideas and different colours to draw branches to connect the ideas. "Pictures are more fun than words and they're easier to remember," Susan explained. "Adding another colour to a presentation can improve memory by 25 to 50%." 


PIC services provide added value for members

Your PIC Executive thanks everyone who completed our Member Survey last spring. We are looking at your ideas to determine how we can best serve our members.

About 25% of PIC members completed the survey and provided us with their thoughts. Here's our key findings:
  • PIC workshops are the greatest source of value to members, followed by PIC member listings on the IABC website
  • For 3 of 5 respondents, the existence of an independent group was a deciding factor in becoming a member or renewing their membership in IABC/Toronto 
  • 2 of 5 PIC members joined on the recommendation of other members
  • 3 of 5 PIC members have taken advantage of the advertising discount in Communicator for IABC/Toronto members, but with mixed results
What PIC needs to do better

Many PIC members suggested that we should do more to promote independents among the IABC/Toronto general membership. As most people responded to the survey before the release of PIC's new marketing materials, this should become less of an issue as we get ourselves known.

Members have asked us to improve The Buzz by writing shorter articles, including member profiles and doing interviews with external experts, which we will look at doing in the near future.

Other suggestions include providing video recordings of missed sessions and having sessions for more senior-level communicators.

You don't have to wait until the next survey to let us know what you need from PIC. Just email PIC at

PIC is a special interest group of IABC Toronto. As the largest chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, IABC Toronto provides access to products, services, activities and networking opportunities in Toronto and around the world. IABC helps people and organizations achieve excellence in corporate communications, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other forms of communication. For more information, visit the
IABC website.
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