Why do you love internal communication (IC)?
If you’re an in-house IC professional, what is it about the profession that attracted you?
What has kept you in it?
Today I have a guest post for you by Melisa Kakas, Internal Communications Manager at British Business Bank. I have the pleasure of mentoring Melisa and I encouraged her to write for this blog.
She has inspired me to encourage other IC pros to share their stories. Thank you to everyone who responded to my LinkedIn post yesterday, I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts.
There’s so much difficult news around at the moment, I’m creating the opportunity to share stories of hope, courage and inspiration.
I’m always on the lookout for great stories to share from in-house IC pros. Do check out the guidelines and let me know if you’d like to contribute.
Think about what would encourage your internal communication peers. What are your top tips? What have you learnt? What mistakes should we avoid? What’s the best IC advice you’ve been told or discovered? How can they fall in love with IC?
How to stay in love with internal communication
It’s February, the month of love, which simply begs the question: how much do you like working in internal communication? On more challenging days, what can you do to like it just a little bit more?
Somehow, you ended up doing what you do. Maybe you’ve always been a writer and have good people skills, and your role found you.
Or you might have intentionally pursued this career path, and here you are, juggling internal events, ghostwriting for your senior leaders, and answering questions no one else in the organisation knows the answer to.
It’s exciting, no day is the same, you feel that you’re making a difference.
Then, there are times you’re the one delivering unwelcome news, you misspelled a particularly important name, or you realised, since numbers and outcomes you measure don’t lie, that your carefully crafted strategic campaign didn’t resonate with your employees. At all.
It’s not always easy to put a brave face on and keep going. I’d like to share with you a few ideas which help me on days like this.
1. Keep a love folder
People in the organisation know you, your name and face are likely all over all communication channels.
Thanks to this, some of your colleagues go out of their way to tell you how much they liked something you wrote/delivered/made happen. Some are extra nice to you exactly when you need it. Save that communication!
I have a folder in my Outlook and a OneNote document where I collect all praise and compliments I receive and occasionally go back to read them again. It’s a great morale boost and a reminder that what I do is important – and what you do is as well.
(I do this, I have a folder in my inbox called my sunshine file – Rachel).
2. Connect with other Internal Communicators
You might be a one (wo)man band, you might work in a team. Still, no one in the organisation does quite what you/your team do, and you do it in a very, organisation-specific way. That’s why it’s so important to connect with other ICs.
Opening up to others and hearing their challenges will give you food for thought and an opportunity to share ‘how we do things around here’, where both sides can learn.
Wonderful things can come from IC connections – new job opportunities, ideas, mentoring opportunities, and good old friendships too.
3. Be realistic – but not too realistic
There are things we can achieve through communications – raise awareness, inform, sometimes even inspire and connect. Still, for many organisational objectives, communicating about them is not enough.
You deal with conflicting priorities and prioritisations, low budgets, leadership changes, just to name a few.
Don’t let things that are outside of your control bring you down.
It’s incredibly easy to let yourself turn into a cynical, self-defeating drone when facing challenges. Don’t do that. Focus on the good and the things you can influence. Things don’t get better until we’re able to envision them becoming better – be that visionary in your environment.
4. Ask for help and help others, too
No(woman) is an island, including you. You might have impeccable gut feeling, make all the right decisions, keep everyone sufficiently informed and happy, until that one moment when you don’t.
The more you grow in your career, the more you might realise that feedback is truly a gift.
We’re all highly subjective, and a second pair of eyes over that important communication helps. Delegating keeps you sane. Letting others in usually helps them realise how much you do, and people tend to like being asked for their opinion. Utilise it.
Equally, if you want to become aware of how much you know, share your knowledge with others. Mentor a more junior colleague. Help your team member get that promotion. You’ll feel better for it, professionally and personally.
5. Never mind the trees, see the wood
That email was supposed to be sent at 9am, not at 9.03am. Why didn’t you copy that person in. The music started playing too late. Why did you say this in front of them, who knows what they think of you now.
As important as some mishaps seem in a moment, in 99% cases they never are.
It’s easy to get lost in the details, in perfecting your presentations, using correct formats and words, making sure the technology works without a glitch.
Remember, much more important than all that is how you and your work make people feel. Sometimes this also means making them laugh because you’re human, just like they are.
Post author: Melisa Kakas.
Thank you Melisa. If you want to hear more of her thoughts, check out our interview on my Candid Comms podcast from last year: A candid conversation about mentoring with Melisa Kakas.
Learn about internal communication with All Things IC
I’d love to invite you to come and train with me face-to-face at the All Things IC Hub in London.
Current courses include:
- Strategic Internal Communication on 10 February 2022 – FULL.
- Effective Internal Communication on 16 March 2022
- Comms Director Mastermind on 30 March 2022
- Strategic Internal Communication on 11 May 2022.
Prefer to learn remotely?
See the dedicated website to access all the latest Online Masterclasses. They are packed with bespoke text lessons, videos, workbooks and quizzes to help you learn about the wonderful world of IC at your own pace.
They are pre-recorded, which means you access the content at the time you choose. Most courses have 12 months’ access.
- How to review and plan your 2021 – 2022 Internal Comms
- The internal communicator’s guide to hybrid working – to help you navigate through different ways of working.
- How to be an internal communicator – ideal if you’re new to the world of IC or have up to three years’ experience.
- How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration – this is for you if you’re thinking about going freelance.
- Introduction to internal communication channels – get up to speed quickly.
- How to create a 90 day plan – to set you up for success in your new Internal Comms role
- How to be a strategic internal communicator – to help you improve your Comms capability.
If you are a CIPR member, you can claim CPD points for completing a course, listening to an episode of my Candid Comms podcast or reading a blog post.
First published on the All Things IC blog 3 February 2022.