How good is your organisation’s internal communication? Want to know how to improve it?

I’m going to share a top tip with you today that will help you improve your internal communication.

Q: How can internal communication be improved?

A: Set your intentions.

Asking yourself this question will help improve your internal communication:

What do you want people to do/say/think/feel as a result of your internal communication? How do you want them to behave?

I shared this slide with NHS communicators a couple of weeks ago during a bespoke Masterclass I ran for them:

I sometimes add the word differently... So what do you want people to do/say/think/feel differently as a result of your internal communication?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you will waste time.

You also can’t gauge how effective it is (measurement) because you have no idea what the intention is behind your internal communication.

So before launching into working with stakeholders on a project, writing articles, creating posters, scripting videos, drafting Town Hall content, I encourage you to pause.

Stop.

Think… What do I want employees to do/say/think/feel?

OR

What do I need employees to do/say/think/feel?

Questions to then ask include:

  • How will you make that happen?
  • What are the behaviours you need to encourage?
  • How can employees align their behaviour?
  • How will you recognise them for it?
  • What’s right for our culture?
  • What are the right channels to use?
  • What does good look like?
  • What did we do last time?

Setting your intentions is critical because it enables you to keep on track. Taking time to do the thinking before launching into the doing is the path to success to improve your internal communication.

For example, before writing this article I looked at the search terms people are using to get to my All Things IC blog. I also looked at answerthepublic.com.

I could see one of the most popular queries is “How can internal communication be improved?” – so I’ve written this blog post to answer that question.

You can see the data below. (You never need to be stuck for a blog post idea again on any topic!)

Why did I write it? What were my intentions?

I want professional communicators, or whoever is searching, to find this article and:

  • Do – something differently as a result of the advice in this article.
  • Say – talk knowledgeably about best practice internal communication and ask their stakeholders these questions. (I’d also love it if they tell their friends you can find 1200+ articles via my blog, which exists to help internal communicators succeed).
  • Think – to think differently, have a framework to hand and know questions to ask.
  • Feel – confident in their own internal communication abilities.

You may just have one focus for your internal communication or a blend of all of them. I work like this constantly and you can too. Get intentional about how you communicate, you’ll notice the difference.

Shifting roles
Remember internal communication isn’t always from a professional communicator, it could be from anyone in the business. As our roles have shifted from content creators to content curators, we need to work consistently inside our organisations.

Ensuring whoever is communicating can articulate what they want/need employees to do/say/think/feel, will boost the effectiveness of your internal communication.

You can also use a framework like EAST to help you encourage people to act and react. It was developed by the Behavioural Insights Team in early 2012 and is worth familiarising yourself with. I highlight it in my monthly All Things IC Masterclasses.

If you want to read more about Behavioural Insights, I recommend the book Inside The Nudge Unit by its Chief Executive David Halpern.

Further reading: Want to know more? You can download a whole guide to EAST.

 

How I use this
When I work with Comms Directors and teams to analyse what they’re doing, I often say: “Tell me what the intention was behind this campaign/email/Town Hall – what did you intend employees to do/say/think/feel?”

If you don’t know, how do you know it worked or not? If you don’t know, how can you measure?

This mindset is the best way to improve your internal communication. To be successful, you need to be intentional.

I also share EAST with them because if you know what you want to do and are focused on making it Easy, Accessible, Social and Timely, you’re on the right track to improve your internal communication.

Do let me know what you think, how can you use this? As ever you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

I’m going to add a bonus tip…

Tip 2: Outline responsibilities

If you heard me speak at the Institute of Internal Communication’s annual conference in May 2018, you’ll know my view on internal communication responsibilities.

I believe internal communication is too important to be left to one team or department, it needs to be understood and put into action across an organisation. The role of IC pros is to equip, empower and enable effective internal communication to happen.

Questions for you to ask: Who is responsible for internal communication in your organisation? Is it seen as purely the IC professional/team’s role or does the wider business understand the role they play?

I’ve recently been creating Communication Principles for my clients to help them communicate who they are and what they do inside their organisations.

See my IoIC presentation from May 2018 below to discover an example. I link it to personal branding – who you are and what you’re known for:

How to improve your internal communication

Recommended reading:

Want to know how to improve your internal communication?

If you have a little bit of budget to spend, see my All Things IC events calendar to discover what’s on. I regularly list events, webinars and conferences from organisations such as the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Public Relations and Communication Association (PRCA) and many more. The majority are free or under £200.

I also offer internal communicators the chance to have consultation calls with me. They start from £295 +VAT for a one-hour call. There are a range of packages to choose from.

Having access to an experienced Communication Consultant would have been so helpful for me when I was in-house. Feedback from IC professionals reveals knowing they can book a call with me to share their ideas, problems and plans helps them get them to where they need to be quicker as we tackle it together.

I’m currently taking bookings for November 2018 onwards. Please contact my Executive Assistant Louise with any queries.

Choose from:

I also offer desk reviews, which means I work from my All Things IC office to help you improve your internal communication. Choose from half day for £499 +VAT or whole day for £999 +VAT.

Come and learn about internal communication

If you would like to boost your internal communication knowledge and confidence, come and join me at my monthly All Things IC Masterclasses in London.

The topics vary each month and include: internal communication, strategic internal communication and change communication. I’m also running courses on How to be a Comms Consultant at the end of 2018. See the Masterclasses website for full information and to save your place.

Thank you as ever for stopping by,

Rachel.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 17 July 2018.

 

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