Why you need to focus on The People Business

Why is now the time to focus on internal communication? A brand new book, The People Business, is hitting the shelves next week, I’ve read an advanced copy and think you’ll like it.

Authors Annabel Dunstan and Imogen Osborne offer readers a unique, inside perspective on what works and what doesn’t in the world of corporate internal communication and strategy, and why they think now is the time to focus on internal communication.

There’s some cracking bits in it. The book features interviews with senior practitioners from a diverse range of leading firms. It includes thoughts from IoIC President Suzanne Peck and Just’s Jenny Burns.

I thoroughly recommend reading The People Business if you’re serious about your communications career. It’s packed full of advice and ideas and accurately reflects the vibrancy of working in this field. It’s worth a read.

What’s in the book?

You’ll discover a refreshingly honest perspective on the practices and challenges facing IC today. It includes tips for success, what the practitioners have learned along the way, and what remains challenging (a lot!).

The People Business examines the evolution of internal communications “from a once poor relation of the communications mix to becoming a respected discipline in its own right.”

Sigh. “Poor relation” mention again. But heartened to see recognition of the fact IC has come out of the shadows – it’s not all doom and gloom!

That transformation is illustrated through 10 chapters of the book dedicated to outlining what good looks like (and a healthy dose of what not to do), when it comes to the practice of internal communication.

What the authors say

Annabel Dunstan @annabel_dunstan has worked in marketing and communications in senior positions at top firms and in-house. She co-founded the engagement consultancy Question & Retain whose clients include Suzuki, PizzaExpress and Ferrero.

She says: “Our interviews span a range of blue-chip companies and the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC). Each chapter tells the individual story of how IC is making a difference in industries such as the food and leisure sector, creative communications, oil and gas industry, travel and professional services by drawing on the experiences of senior IC practitioners who have ‘seen it all’.

“We hope, as you turn the pages, you will discover new ideas and inspiration from some of the UK’s senior communications leaders, all of whom are working at the coalface of IC.

“Their roles are balanced between helping the organisations they work for find a ‘voice’ and ensuring that when the organisation speaks, it does so credibly and with emotional authenticity.”

Imogen Osborne @Imospeaks has spent over 20 years in senior communications leadership roles at Skype, Cisco and Edelman.

In 2012, she co-founded Question & Retain with the aim of changing the way companies listen to their clients, staff and other key stakeholders.

Here they are taking about the book:

I enjoyed the book and think you’ll like the final section of The People Business which outlined 20 top tips for internal communicators.

They included:

  • Embrace variety, be open, outgoing and honest.
  • Network, be interested in people.
  • Develop good listening skills.
  • Know your audience and stakeholders
  • Adopt a continuous improvement mind-set
  • Be accepting of constructive criticism.


Well done Annabel, Imogen and Kogan Page, it’s great to see quality internal communication books being produced. Best of luck with the launch next week.

Have you read the book? Spotted any books you think other All Things IC readers would be interested in? Feel free to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.


CIPR Inside @CIPRInside has launched #ICBookClub and is hosting a discussion on Twitter next week. See #ICBookClub for more information. They’re currently reading Busy by Tony Crabbe.

The irony of trying to read this book… I’m trying! But having just studied for my CIPR Chartered PR Assessment, I had to put reading this book on the back burner.

Talking of CIPR Inside, huge congratulations to Chair of the group and my wonderful friend and fellow The IC Crowd co-founder Jenni Field @mrsjennifield for being named a CIPR Fellow this week, it’s so well deserved. Am proud of you Jenni and thrilled to see you recognised, well done.

CIPR Inside announced their conference date this week too – save 1 November 2017 in your diary. I’ve no idea of details, but it’s always guaranteed to be a good one, it’s in my diary.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 29 June 2017.



  1. […] Why you need to focus on The People Business […]

  2. […] Why you need to focus on The People Business […]

  3. […] The People Business, Annabel Dunstan and Imogen Osborne, Kogan Page (2017). Read my interview with the authors […]

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