4 easy ways to make your messages warm, personal and authentic

Employees (and customers) can smell phony corporate baloney a mile away. Prioritize compelling, emotional imagery, and give user-generated content a try.

How to communicate like a human

If the goal of internal communication is to engage, empower and influence employees, then communicators must create content that stirs emotions.

Employees can smell fake, phony corporate baloney a mile away. Pieces that are contrived or written in corporate-speak leave employees bored and your messaging ignored.

Regardless of your industry, a human approach to communication resonates better than a stiff, robotic tone of voice. Think of it as a person-to-person conversation rather than blasting emails out to a sea of faceless employees.

A person-to-person approach levels the playing field of the conversation. It prevents the language from becoming too stilted and formal—or from talking down to employees. It clears the way for a conversation between equals.

Taking a more “human” approach to communication sounds abstract, but it’s not complex. Try these four easy ways to promote authenticity in your organization:

1. Photography. Instead of using stock photography of models in generic offices or factories, invest in professional photos of your employees. Feature your workers in your messaging, and make sure they receive copies of their favorite shots.

2. Video. Don’t waste your time and resources on boring videos with bland voiceovers. Instead, capture footage of employees talking about their work, their interests and what they’re passionate about. Invest in videos that show the essence of your culture, vision and values in an authentic manner.

3. Leadership communications. Instead of ghostwriting a blog bylined by the CEO or another exec, let employees hear your leader’s own words. You can interview the president to create a Q&A feature for the intranet, or you might try capturing a candid video or producing a podcast snippet. Whichever forum or format you choose, play to your leader’s strengths. Let his or her best qualities shine through to build rapport with employees.

4. Employee-generated content. Employees trust other employees much more than something written by professional communicators. So, solicit content created by employees for the intranet, on social media or for other endeavors. If this feels like too much, at least give workers the ability to make comments on the intranet and on other internal channels.

Give your employees a meaningful voice in your messaging—and don’t forget to listen to what they have to say.

Elizabeth Baskin is CEO of Tribe. A version of this post first appeared on the Tribe blog.

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