Today’s article in my countdown to Christmas (how are we on day 10 already?!) features Steph Ayre who wrote for my blog back in February about her impressions of entering into the world of internal communication.

If you’ve missed any of my Advent articles to date, just search the Advent tag to read them all.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there

Every day I am approached by students, companies and comms pros who are looking to tell their stories and share their thoughts.

One such message really stood out recently, from Steph Ayre, @stephanie_ayre, (pictured) about how internal communication does not feature in PR degrees. She graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in July 2013 with a BA degree in PR and now works as a communications consultant at oil and gas company, Aker Solutions.

Steph AyreOver to you Steph..

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there
I didn’t plan a career in internal communication (IC) until I started working where I am today in the energy industry. Today, IC counts for around 90% of my job role.

I spent four years studying PR at Leeds Met University in the UK, including a brilliant year-long placement in a PR consultancy.

I was mentored and supported throughout, and the focus on external communications and media relations at university mirrored what I was doing in my day to day role. Happy days!

On graduation I had reached my two goals: to be confident in my knowledge of PR and to be career-ready.

However, out of 24 modules studied, not one placed a focus on internal communication. Guest lectures were provided from agency and in-house professionals whose focus was external communication.

It’s a shame that other students aren’t opening their eyes to the world of IC.

I get to do what I love the most about PR on a daily basis; storytelling and pulling together exciting plans for engaging campaigns. I get to provide advice and support those who would like to explore all options and develop their own understanding of communications and I have a captive audience of around 30 000 people in over 30 countries.

I’m making a global workplace into a place where people feel informed and are happy to work, which is a pretty great thing. And seeing things from business perspective, happy and informed employees are motivated and dedicated employees.

Maybe that’s something students should be discussing

There are some great courses and resources available online for IC professionals (All Things IC and CIPR Inside are my personal favourites), but I feel strongly that more awareness of IC amongst PR students will only strengthen our part of the industry.

Often, we are forgotten because we aren’t always visible to consumers and external stakeholders.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Post author: Steph Ayre.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Steph. This particularly resonated with me because I was invited to deliver a guest lecture at London College of Fashion last year for students.

I thoroughly enjoyed leading the teaching session, particularly because for many of the students it was the first time they had ever thought about internal communication (they were studying PR).

I found the conversations and questions really insightful because they had no preconceived ideas of what internal comms is, but they then realised through our discussion that they had in fact been “exposed” to it in some shape or form.

My latest podcast as part of the For Immediate Release podcast network series features a look at internal communication qualifications. You can listen to it here.

Last week I spoke at the #ICExcellence event held by the Government Communication Service @UKGovComms here in the UK. Among the information I shared was a look at the role of internal communicators and the fact it doesn’t exist in the careers guidance for schools. I’d love to see that!

If you have a story to tell and would like to be considered for a guest article, please see my guidelines.


First published: February 2014, republished December 2014.