How to make an impact with your internal comms

Are you making an impact through your internal communication? How can you use humour, measurement and employees’ feedback to ensure your IC is effective?

Cipr_inside_confThese topics were all covered today at the excellent Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Inside annual IC conference in London #makinganimpact15.

I gave a 15 minute lightning talk on content, and was part of a panel of comms pros discussing comms team structures and the role of IC.

The event is always a highlight of my comms calendar as it’s an excellent opportunity to learn from peers, meet comms pros face-to-face (and we all know the importance of that!) and contribute to the conversations.

It was hosted by CIPR Inside Deputy Chair Steven Murgatroyd @steve_murg, who did a great job keeping us on track and to time. He was keen to encourage comms pros to enter the CIPR Inside awards I blogged about the other day – do take a look and consider entering your hard work.

Speakers included:

  • Sarah Purdie, @sarahpurdie, Head of Internal Marketing Communications at Clarks
  • Janet Morgan, @jbmorang, Director, Global content strategy and planning at GSK
  • Stephanie Davies, Company Founder and CEO @Laughology
  • John Neilson, Head of Communications at Lockheed Martin
  • Saskia Jones, @saskiahjones1, Head of Communications Engagement at Oxfam
  • Kevin Ruck, @academykev, Founding Director, PR Academy
  • Tim Rutter, Head of Communications, Tata Steel

You can see my slides online and below.

Thank you to everyone who has got in touch asking to see my slides. My deck won’t give you many clues as you’ll see a distinct lack of bullet points! I prefer to illustrate my thoughts through images rather than read verbatim what’s written on slides.

I know CIPR Inside is planning to share the slides from today, so will update this article with that link when it’s live.


To summarise, I talked about:

  • How content is as unique to individuals as our fingerprints – it’s about how we translate the environment around us and shape our own experience and stories. Identical twins are born with different fingerprints because they form based on how we interact with the womb.
  • How professional communicators define content – thank you to the IC pros who Tweeted their thoughts to @AllthingsIC.
  • Shortening attention spans – and how humans reportedly have attention spans one second shorter than a goldfish
  • The importance of constantly evolving your content. For example I’ve been blogging since 2009 and write content based on how people interact with the All Things IC blog. I use the search terms people use to get to my blog to help shape what I write.
  • Facebook likes to “move fast and break stuff” – the same rules should apply in comms. Be bold in your IC.
  • You don’t need expensive tools to be able to create content – you can use a pencil. It will last 35 miles or 50,000 words!
  • “Comms bling” has the potential to dazzle and put you off course. See my article on comms bling from July 2015.
  • Tailoring your content and language based on the audience
  • Ensuring you understand the realities of your workplace for employees – do you know what thrills or scares your employees? That should drive your content agenda. If you’re responsible for leadership comms, do you know whether your leaders are tapped into what’s on the minds of the workforce?
  • The role of IC pros has shifted from content creators to content curators. Everyone has the ability to generate content in our organisations, especially through enterprise social networks, so our role is to remove the egos and bylines and focus on facilitating and driving conversations.
  • We need to equip, empower and enable employees to have effective conversations inside and outside our organisations.
  • My three golden rules for effective content – the word RAW. Needs to be Real, Accurate and Whatever is right for your organisation – there’s no model that will make total sense for your company.
  • Whatever is right – conferences offer opportunities to learn from case studies and peers, but the role of IC pros is to translate what you hear and make smart decisions about channels etc based on how your organisation communicates.
  • I shared some slides that didn’t make it into my presentation – as an example of the need to try new things and adapt your content as your thinking evolves.
  • I use Pinterest to pin ideas, quotes and images that I like. I have a secret ‘swipe file board’ and often use it as the first place I go when I’m asked to speak somewhere.
  • Don’t be tempted by inappropriate content. I broke one of my own rules to show an image that I knew wasn’t  appropriate (cartoon of a baby taking a selfie) for today.

Here’s the complete deck:

I’ll share further thoughts from today once I’ve had a chance to process them – have a full brain! I also recorded a podcast today, so will edit it and share once it’s ready.

Congratulations to the CIPR Inside committee and thank you to the speakers for an inspiring day.
Enjoyed this article? Why not share it on.
Post author: Rachel Miller
First published on the All Things IC blog 13 October 2015.


  1. Sasha Watson says:

    Fantastic summary Rachel. I really enjoyed your presentation as someone who is constantly tempted by Comms bling!

  2. Thanks very much Sasha, it was good to see you yesterday.

  3. […] Rachel Miller How to make and impact with your internal comms […]

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