The seven deadly sins of communication

As promised, here is the final part of Comms professional Sonsoles Lumbreras’ article as an overview of the Simply Summit, which took place in London last week.

She looks at what was discussed, shares her views and highlights what took place including a social media panel, a session about the seven deadly sins of communication and creating engaging films.

Have you attended a comms event recently that you think would be beneficial to share with other comms pros? Do get in contact with your ideas and check out my guest writing guidelines.

Over to you Sonsoles….

The social media panel of the Simply Summit saw some brilliant ideas raised by the speakers. Mark Comerford explained how we are moving from a digital to a networking society saying: “networking means participating in culture, changing storytelling by storybuilding”.

According to Comerford, the role of communications professionals is to build smarter networks and be responsive to change, because if you aren’t ‘your organisation is going to fail’. He said you can’t ignore the fact that these new media exist, therefore organisations should adapt to this change.

The rest of panellists explained their experiences implementing social media for internal communications at their companies. It was interesting to listen to Mark Morrell, former Intranet Manager at BT, pointing out that it was very difficult to implement some elements, such as blogging, since they implied a cultural change for the company:

“We had to make people understand what these new tools could do for them”, emphasised Morrell, who also highlighted how important it is to try out these tools within companies.

Creating a fanclub
Other interesting panellist was Mark Allotey, Digital Internal Platforms manager for Telefónica O2 UK, who also explained how difficult was for him to break the silos inside the organisation when creating their social platform ‘Fanclub’.

I also enjoyed the session by Mike Grafham, from Yammer’s Customer Success team for EMEA, and Jasmine Elnadeem, Social Media Trainer and Consultant, who shared their experiences and views about the use of social media for internal communications.

The seven deadly sins of communication
In a really engaging and fun presentation, Steve Crescenzo and Jim Ylisela were in charge of showing how the seven deadly sins can be translated to the work of communications professionals. Here is their very personal translation:

  1. Wrath: get on well with all your colleagues working in different departments in your organisation
  2. Greed: just use the tools or channels more suitable for your message. Don’t use too many channels just because you can
  3. Pride: go out and speak to real people to measure how successful your communications are
  4. Lust: don’t fall in love with your own stuff, be tough on your own words
  5. Envy: stop complaining and envying other people in the organisation!
  6. Gluttony: don’t use too many words when just a few can work
  7. Sloth: don’t do always the same, try to communicate in new ways, be original

Internal communication in the real world
In what I think was a perfect end to the day, Keith Porter and Julie Bellham, from Standard Chartered, talked about the lessons learnt from their internal communications practices. I found it really inspiring listening to how they changed to a better internal magazine, focusing on stories about people and giving it a fresher image using texts and design. They described how they created an engaging corporate video by working with their CEO to explain their Liverpool FC sponsorship.

Through all of the initiatives they shared, their lessons learnt included:

  • provide clear links to company strategy
  • measure your communications
  • try new things
  • you can increase management interactivity through communication

Being braver
Both Keith and Julie said that in spite of all efforts, some people within companies ‘just won’t get it’. My key takeaway from their talk and successful ideas, was that communicators need to be braver. Do you agree with them?

Post author: Sonsoles Lumbreras

Thank you very much for your thoughts Sonsoles. If you attended the Simply Summit and have some views on what was discussed, or from this article, you can comment below.  You can also find more information about the summit and its speakers on their Storify.

Post published May 2012.


  1. Love your blog and am a regular reader. I particularly agree that in general, we as internal communicators need to do a better job standing up for what we believe in. Part of the challenge is that it always seems more difficult to measure the results of internal communications programs vs. external one, which can at the very least be quantified with impressions, social media uptake, etc. But I also have a theory that there are more introverts in internal communications than external/media/PR, and this makes us less likely to fight for the resources and attention our work deserves. I of course have no evidence for this whatsoever, just personal experience. But it’s something I’ve thought about for awhile – we need to get OUT THERE!

  2. Thank you for your thought-provoking comment Tamara. Measurement is always a hot topic and I agree it’s often ‘easier’ to measure external comms output. Hmm I’ve not considered the introvert/extrovert theory for internal comms professionals, definitely food for thought. I will check out your site now and thank you for having your say, Rachel.

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