2023 reflections from Team Teal

How has this year been for you?

Thank you to all the internal communicators and organisations who’ve invited my team (known as Team Teal) and I to support you in 2023.

I published a LinkedIn newsletter yesterday to reflect on a year in Comms, as we come to the end of our 10th birthday year.

The cake in the header image was kindly made by the Wallacespace team as a gift for us. They presented it to me at All Things IC Live in May.

It has been an incredibly tough year for many internal communications and your organisations. Well done for everything you’ve achieved, I hope you get a chance to rest before next year begins.

Thank you Louise, Caroline and Dan for all your hard work this year.

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2023 in review montage of images

I asked my team for their 2023 highlights. They don’t fit neatly into the 12 days of Christmas. So here’s our wonderfully wonky list, which includes some of our highlights and the ways IC pros have asked for our help this year:

80,000 words written for Rachel’s upcoming book

20 bespoke team training days designed and taught online and in-person

17 internal communicators mentored by Rachel and Caroline

12 editions of The Water Cooler email newsletter sent to nearly 10k IC pros every month

10 years of All Things IC

9 Online Masterclass topics are now available to choose from. You can save 20% until 31 December using the code DECEMBEROFFER

8 internal communicators coached by Dan this year

5 internal communication audits conducted by Team Teal

4 podcast guests on the latest season of the Candid Comms podcast, which just hit 75k downloads and finished its 5th season

3 Team Teal dogs and one Team Teal cat. (Thank you Battersea for their Christmas gifts)

2 Freedom of the City of London awards for Rachel and Dan

1 All Things IC Live Masterclass and Mastermind

1 successful coaching qualification granted – well done Dan.

Today I’m publishing some of my team’s reflections.

Caroline speaking at All Things IC Live 2023

Here’s Communication Consultant Caroline Cubbon-King.

Reflections from Caroline

I realised recently that I’ve just celebrated 25 years working in comms. That fact blows my mind as I remember my first day in a proper job being shown how to use the internet and send an email. The primary method of communicating in that organisation was by fax and strange little memos written by the CEO which would appear on your desk and command immediate attention.

Fast forward to 2023 and scraps of paper with personalised messages scrawled on them seem like something from a bygone age. In fact, even as a very junior member of staff at the start of my comms career way back then, I appreciated the personal touch and the fact the CEO knew who I was and what I could do.

Almost all conversations I’ve had in 2023 with Comms friends has included discussions about line managers and the impact of leaders.

When teams talk to me about implementing new systems and platforms, I’m quick to grill them on how robust their core communications are. What’s the point in having a state-of-the-art intranet if your line managers aren’t communicating with their teams successfully?

When people talk to me about audits and reviews, I give them a spoiler alert up front.

The most trusted source of information in most organisations is usually another human being, not something you access using a keyboard and mouse.

I’ve loved working with organisations in 2023 who have taken time to listen to line managers and to understand their challenges first hand. It’s often small gestures and actions needed to help them communicate well. It’s our role as communicators to stay tuned into this and do what’s required. It’s in our interests too.

I’ve had hundreds of conversations this year and another key reflection is how eager communicators are to improve and increase impact.

Most are self-aware and know what’s working and where they aren’t focussing enough effort. Many still get caught up taking responsibility for things we can’t control.

Comms pros can make messages clear, accessible, timely and use the right language and tone of voice, but we can’t take responsibility for whether a message is well received.

I love our profession’s willingness to learn and be inspired by others. Seeing 85 communicators come together at All Things IC Live 2023 was a personal highlight of the year for me. So much wisdom in the room and an equal willingness to share it, be humble and learn from others.

As we head into 2024 with more channels than ever and new technology and tools looming large, my comms wish is that we all enter the new year with our ears and eyes open, creating opportunities to listen as much as we can to each other, our peers and our audience.

Our door is always open to comms pros wanting a confidential chat that safe and supportive. If you have something on your mind and would benefit from a conversation, do get in touch.

Louise Mackenney at All Things IC Live

Dan teaching measurement at All Things IC Live

Dan’s 2023 reflections

On many occasions this year, I found myself deep in conversation about measurement. It still seems to be an area of our profession that communicators avoid or move down the to-do list as the pressure of needing to focus on content creation takes priority.

I could write a lengthy article on measurement, but today I’ve reflected on outcomes, as this appears to be the biggest challenge when it comes to internal communication measurement.

To bust some jargon, an outcome is what happens as a result of communication, such as a change in behaviour.

This is not the same as output. An output is something quantifiable that you can measure, such as the number of intranet articles published, clicks on stories and shares. An outcome is what happens as a result of what you’ve done.

The head scratch moments appear to be how to identify what outcomes to measure and then how to measure them. Measuring outcomes can feel scary and time-consuming, but rest assured, it doesn’t need to be.

I’ve been there before, adding lots of data into an Excel sheet that only the internal comms team uses (and even that was hit-and-miss).

I’ve also had those moments when I was in-house, of wondering how I can measure outcomes when I can’t even tell my boss how many colleagues open the weekly email newsletter!

I’ll publish a blog article in the new year that will go into the topic of outcomes in more detail, but communicators shouldn’t be afraid of moving towards outcome-based measurement.

If you are reading this article and not measuring your internal communication, you’re not alone. Consider 2024 the year of introducing your first measurement approach, centred on outcomes.

Get help with internal communication measurement

Candid Comms Measurement episode season four

I wish you a happy and healthy end to your year. We look forward to supporting you in 2024,

Our 20% off Online Masterclasses offer runs until 31 December 2023, use the code DECEMBEROFFER at the checkout.

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 21 December 2023.

Pre-order Rachel's book. Publishing date: April 2024

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