What do you like most about working internal communication? Chloe Jeffs is the latest professional communicator to sit in my #questionofcomms hot seat.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with her over the years, most recently as a client in her previous role as Head of IC at O2. Chloe has revealed what the book she thinks comms pros should read, the best advice she’s ever been given and much more.

Would you like to sit in my hot seat? If you’re an in-house practitioner, here are the questions you need to answer.

Here’s Chloe…

1) When did you know internal communication was what you wanted to do?

First Direct’s ‘Internal Marketing’ team gave me my very first taste of working in Communications back in the 90s. I worked for Rachel Thornton who had already established a great team of creative communicators, they took me under their wing and taught me the dark art of Internal Comms.

It was fascinating and I’ve been hooked ever since. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of Internal Comms roles in different sectors and also expanded my remit into external communications and campaigning roles.

2) What do you like most about working in this field?

It gets said time and time again, but it’s the sheer variety of the work we get involved in.

My role is to deliver the right messaging in the right media at the right time. Whether that’s a CEO speech writing or enlisting the PR potential of MPs, leading music artists or blogging Guide Dogs, it all comes down to delivering impactful and innovative communications to the audience.

3) What’s the best career advice you’ve been given?

Know what you want, and [just as importantly] what you don’t want. I’ve learnt that to bring my whole self to work, who I work for is hugely important. I was advised to ask myself three things about the people I work for:

1) Can I learn from this person?
2) Do I respect this person?
3) Do I like this person?

I need a score of at least two out of three to take up a new role. This little test empowers me to say ‘no’ if I can see that our values don’t align. Having the clarity to say no has been really powerful for me.

4) What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a career in comms?

Network. Network. Network. This is a profession made up of really supportive, creative and helpful people and you never know who people are connected to and the doors they can open. I’ve loved working with and learning from first class communicators such as Rachel, Nicola Green and many others who showed me that the secret to success lies in simple things like self-belief, bloody hard work and northern perseverance.

5) What does a typical day or working week look like for you?

This is the hardest question to answer. Internal Communications are involved in a huge variety of activities. We generally find ourselves in the wings, helping others be the best communicators they can be, helping shape their communications strategies, engaging their people and delivering growth and transformation in the business, every day is different.

6) Name a book you think every communicator must read, and why you’ve chosen it

Discover Your True North by Bill George, a professor at Harvard Business School. This book explores the concept of leadership, at least as experienced and applied by the CEO’s of large companies, such as Unilever and Merck. It’s a useful book that shares the experiences of a large number of business people in leadership positions.

It is quite honest, for example, one chapter is entitled “losing your way” and explores the fall from grace of a number of people including Lance Armstrong (cyclist), Richard Fuld (Lehman) and Rajat Gupta (Goldman, Harvard).

I think Internal Comms professionals have a real opportunity to help leaders find their ‘authentic’ styles of leadership for the benefit of everyone.

7) What’s the one thing you couldn’t do your job without?

That’s easy, my mobile phone. Even after 12 years working in Telecommunications, I’m still staggered by how much we can do with something so small it fits in our pockets. Smartphones are only 11 years old – imagine the role mobile will play in connecting our economy and powering our working lives in the future, especially when 5G is rolled out.

8) What is the future of internal communication?

To thrive! I believe Internal Communication will move to support a more global mindset and will be vital in helping to create new cultures fit for the future in an increasingly volatile world. The quality of leaders and their ability to communicate to their global workforces will be a huge differentiator for organisations and IC professionals have a huge role to play in this transformation.

The rapid advancement of technology and the digital landscape, political unrest, new and complex emerging markets and the impact that the evolving workplace will have on the needs of cross-generational workforces are just some of the challenges we need to help our organisations, leaders and teams adapt to and be ready for.

9) Where can people find you online?

You can find me on LinkedIn.

Thank you very much Chloe. I couldn’t agree more about thriving, I see so many professional communicators who are struggling to survive. The idea of thrive feels out of reach.

I believe we can strive to thrive and put plans in place to make it happen. That’s at the core of my All Things IC Masterclasses and I spend a lot of my time working alongside IC pros to spot opportunities where they can thrive.

Want to know how I can help you? See my work with me page to find out more.

Sign up to learn about internal communication

Want to learn more about internal communication? I’d love you to join me at my upcoming All Things IC Masterclasses. Search the Masterclasses website to discover full information about my one-day courses in London.

Six months of mentoring

If you need tailored advice, choose my VIP mentoring option. This gives you a whole day working alongside me in London, then six months of support via regular accountability phone calls.

Find out more information.

Every year I offer professional communicators the chance to work with me via a VIP mentoring package. I only sign six VIP clients twice a year to enable me to wholly dedicate time to you. We’ll spend the day together 1-2-1 in London and then have accountability calls over the course of six months to help you to succeed.

During 2018, the comms pros I’ve been working with 1-2-1 have used these mentoring arrangements to suit their needs. For example, to enable me to support them as they’ve settled into new roles, to help prepare to leave in-house positions and consider consultancy, or to boost their confidence handling tricky stakeholders and challenges.

I already have three clients who have chosen to work with me next year, which I’m really looking forward to.

That means there are just three places remaining. Your investment is £3499 +VAT and our work together will start in February 2019.

Do get in touch with any queries.

Need a speedier solution?
You could have the calls spaced closer together. For example, this year I have helped a Comms Director via regular calls over six weeks as they were new in role. Bookings are open, so now is the time to sign up to work with me confidentially from February 2019 onwards.

Get help via my monthly Masterclasses

My monthly Masterclasses all take place face-to-face in London, UK. CIPR and IoIC members can save 20% and earn CPD points/hours from the monthly courses.

We’re rapidly approaching the end of the year. If you’re stuck now, be quick as there are only a handful of places left on my 2018 courses. You could also book a 1-2-1 consultancy call with me if you need tailored advice.

Choose from:

2019 Masterclasses:

CIPR and IoIC members, plus nonprofit organisations, can save 20% by using discount codes and earn CPD points/hours. Courses cost £599+VAT.

Explore what’s on and save your place now.

The All Things IC Masterclasses website contains all the information you need to know to explore what’s on, read feedback from other communicators and save your place.

Thank you for stopping by,

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 4 November 2018.

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