By Liam FitzPatrick and Klavs Valskov
Talking to your workforce involves almost every skill set in the communication profession and a few that are unique to employee communication. Writing, event management, message planning, design and advising leaders have to supplement an understanding of line supervisors and coping with the darker corners of HR.
We recently sat down to write a book explaining the practice of internal communication, to produce the guide that we wish we’d been given when we started working in the field. And quickly we realized what a massive task we’d taken on!
Painfully aware that we were bound to miss something vital, we decided to cover our backs by setting down what we thought were the essential rules of internal communication. We’d love to know what IABC folks think.
RULE No. 1: It’s about results and outcomes; not activity
Every conversation in internal communication begins with, “What do we want people to DO?” No matter how exciting it is to deliver a beautiful brochure, leadership conference or intranet site, if nobody works differently, what is the point?
RULE No. 2: It’s about the business
Why should the boss fund the never-ending party that is the internal communication team if there is no impact on the business? When you can show the link back to the business need or the organization’s problems, you can expect the CFO to fall adoringly at your feet (well, sometimes…).
RULE No. 3: Don’t drive with your eyes shut
Communicators are a bridge between two worlds. They have to understand how the workforce thinks so they can explain to leaders why their latest mad idea is going to be hard to communicate.
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