Internal communication is hiding a trap in plain sight. A sting in its tail for unsuspecting communicators.
What’s in a name?
Internal communication overtly declares that it’s different to other aspects of communication. And that’s a problem.
The moment you start to communicate through the lens of anything other than the person or persons you want to talk to you’re in trouble.
All too often, internal communication does this. The focus is placed squarely on what needs to happen for the business. With jargon sprinkled in from Subject Experts, Senior Stakeholders, Legal, Health & Safety, and Human Resources. Making sure its accurate, follows policy, doesn’t cause offence, and doesn’t get anyone in trouble.
Please don’t get us wrong. Of course the end result of any internal communication needs to be in the best interest of the business. 100%. And we also want to make sure we play by the rules and don’t upset anyone. No question.
The difference between good and bad internal communication is simply where the strategy of the business, with all its considerations and technicalities, bulldozes the simple truth; It has to be relevant and easily understood by the people you want to communicate with.
It boils down the mantra we repeat to ourselves during every piece of work we do.
What’s important to us (the speaker) is not important to you (the audience).
It’s the hardest thing to do when you’re telling someone about something that’s important to you. We talk about it more in our article about Advertising
Whatever you’re communicating it needs to speak to your audience. Most of us don’t tend to find pleasure in reading risk assessments or contracts or terms and conditions.
They tend to be monotone and jargon heavy. Most of the sentences are meaningless to us mere mortals, which happens to be all of us when we’re not playing super-hero at work.
They have a purpose though. They are important documents that contain a lot of detail. That’s fine.
Internal communication should speak to us on our level. We’re not suggesting that everything should contain humour or be entirely informal. There are moments you shift your personality depending on circumstance, all forms of communication should do the same.
But even the most straight laced and formal of business or institution can afford to introduce a bit of character. A personality its people can relate to. We talk more about this in our article about brand tone of voice.
Re-defining Internal Communication
It might sound like we have a problem with internal communication. We don’t. We love it.
It’s one of our favourite areas to work in. The objectives are broad and varied. The audience are often more clearly defined. You can be more playful with the brand.
The audience are also more compelled to engage with communications. They need to know what’s going on. To know how to do their job.
But that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
For us the only significant difference that sets internal communication apart from other communication is privacy. Sometimes, what’s said through internal communication should stay internal. It’s private to the business and everyone that’s part of it.
That’s it. The word internal shouldn’t influence the way you communicate with people. It just means they’re part of a special club that knows something, they belong to something that others don’t.
Isn’t that an exciting thing to be sharing the story of?
So we should be getting people excited, right? At the very least, passionate?
We’d be happy to talk to you about your internal communication, for free. And then, if we think we can help you and you like the cut of our jib, we’d work together to make sure we get your people to listen to what you say. Oh, and fall madly in love with the business they work for.
Can we help you with your internal communication? Pop your details in below and we’ll be in touch.
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There seems to be an unwritten rule of business that we need to adopt a certain tone of voice in order to achieve anything. To be taken seriously.