The art of conversation in internal communication

The art of communication in internal communication

January 21, 2014

It is easy, as internal communication practitioners, to become absorbed in the delivery of speci?c communication – whether it’s newsletters, intranet or leadership presentations.

Meanwhile organic internal communication is continuously taking place throughout the organisation as people carry out day-to-day tasks.

In some organisations, a certain disconnect can develop between the two.

Of course, the informal conversations that take place every day play a crucial role in internal communication – namely because everyone who works in the organisation is a communicator in some way.

Ever considered listening to these conversations? They can add greater insight into an organisation’s fabric than simply looking at employee survey data once a year.

Indeed, some experts believe IC practitioners need to forge strong relationships with HR team, stressing vital disciplines that open up opportunities for dialogue between employees.

These may include effective one-to-ones, coaching and feedback and learning and development.

But, for IC professionals to have great conversations, they need to know what their role and responsibilities in the process are, and to be able to understand and repeat the messages that are being fed to them.

This is where building an iconic message that represents the business objectives and mission can make a strong impact.

How sticky is your message?

How easy is it for people to relate to on a personal level?

It’s very common for business leaders to want to talk about change programmes and business objectives in great detail but, as that detail is cascaded further down the organisation, the essence of why we are doing what we are doing is lost and people switch off.

But, if people can relate to the message and then explain the change programme or business objectives in one or two sentences, you are much more likely to have consistent and cohesive internal communication.

Top five communications tips

Open up a dialogue:
Spend as much time in the business talking to employees as you spend writing communication.
De?ne the roles and responsibilities for each of the communicators in your business:
What role do you want the business leaders to take in ful?lling the communication and what role do you want the front line workers to take?

Create one destination:
Have a central URL for all online colleague information. The Green Room includes some sub-sites but it appears as one area.

Be open, honest and consistent in your communication:
Don’t hold information back from employees as they will start to ?ll in any gaps for themselves.

Think about the implicit communications that are going on in your organisation:
Do the business processes and leadership culture support the messages being communicated?

Connect with other IC professionals:
It can be quite a lonely place in IC but there are many others out there who are experiencing the same challenges and you can learn from each other.