Diary of an internal comms ninja

What is it like to study internal communication? What courses are around and what’s the reality of working towards professional development?

In the latest in my comms career series, Jessica BUPAJessica Beaven (pictured) who works in Internal Communications and Events at BUPA writes for my blog about her recent experience on the Melcrum Black Belt training course.

Last month I wrote an introductory guide to internal communication for people who are just starting out and featured Mairi McInnes, who shared her thoughts on what it’s like to enter the world of internal communication.

What is the course? On their website, Melcrum describes it as: “The world’s leading professional development for internal communicators. With over 2,500 graduates worldwide and hundreds more joining each year, Black Belt sets a global standard for performance.

“Based on Melcrum’s 17 years of research into best practice and thoroughly benchmarked with internal communication leaders, our course content is second to none. We guarantee you’ll graduate both exhausted and exhilarated — but it doesn’t end there! Once you’ve completed your Black Belt course you’ll continue your development afterwards through the highly-regarded Black Belt Alumni group — an exclusive network of internal communicators who have demonstrated their commitment to excellence and continue to push the boundaries of the profession.”

If you’re undecided about which Black Belt course to attend, see the FAQ page, call +44 (0)20 7357 8888 or email blackbelt@melcrum.com.

Over to you Jessica…

Diary of an internal comms ninja

I am officially an Internal Comms ninja. Not once but twice over.

I have completed the Melcrum Internal Communications Black Belt 2 course, which I thoroughly enjoyed and took an awful lot away from. The topics our two programme leaders covered were:

  • Developing a strategic relationship – using a consultancy approach.
  • Building a trusted relationship – earning the right to give advice with confidence.
  • Taking a structured approach to working with stakeholders (deciding where to focus your attention).
  • Learning styles.
  • Giving/receiving feedback.
  • Facilitating groups.

Over the four days, we also looked at the following areas:

  • Understanding your audience’s “hook”
  • Trust
  • Confidence and body language
  • Question types (ie leading, pre-supposition, open, probing etc)
  • How to listen (and I mean in a proper-consultant-type way, not in a ‘What did you do at the weekend?’ sort of way)

We had some great open discussions and regardless of how senior the person was, one of the issues that really shone through was confidence.

Black BeltAt the end of the course I genuinely felt confident in using a term like ‘expert’ or ‘consultant’ to describe what I do.  After all, people come to us in Internal Communication for our advice, so we can’t be talking complete rubbish!

The course held my complete attention (no mean feat in itself…!) over the entire four days. It made me appreciate how much great stuff there is to Internal Communication, but not in an intimidating way – in a really exciting way.

As long as the business need and solid communication structure is there, there’s so much we can do. There will always be hurdles that need overcoming, but to me, that’s what can sometimes make some of the best and most impactful comms. And let’s face it – none of us would be in Internal Communication if we didn’t like a challenge.

There were nine of us on the course, all from various backgrounds, which was great to have us all sharing one common interest. From Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labour, to NPower, to the Office of Nuclear Regulation, to some of the big banks… lots of industries were represented.

It’s a course I would very much recommend, and I’m more than happy to talk to anyone about it. I believe it’s global too – bonus!

Post author: Jessica Beaven

If you’d like to find out more about the Melcrum black belt training, you can get a taster via this video read full information online and via this brochure.

Further reading
See my Rachel’s Resources page for a list of various comms courses that I’m aware of including:

Kingston University Post Graduate Diploma in Internal Communications Management
Qualifications from CIPR
IoIC internal communication courses
PR Academy qualifications
University of Central Lancashire masters course 
Masters in internal communication via Kingston University

Comms career guidance: An introductory guide to internal communication

Got a query about comms careers? Tweet me @AllthingsIC or feel free to comment below,

Rachel Miller

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