Have you ever had your hair cut beautifully by someone who has their own
tresses scraped back in a scrunchie reminiscent of the '80s?
Or have you had a fantastic extension built by someone who lives in a house
that resembles a perpetual building site?
Just like the saying about the shoemaker's children never being shod, it's
a common phenomenon of the modern world that people don't have the time to
apply their skills to themselves.
Internal communicators are no different.
Having worked with many internal communications clients over the years in
various capacities, the same issue emerges time and time again: the
inability to promote ourselves. We're often quick to moan that people view
us as the messengers, but what have we delivered to dispel that perception?
When doing communication audits, I frequently hear, "I don't really know
what the communications team members do." Considering that most of us put
blood, sweat and tears into many of our campaigns and initiatives, that is
We're so busy promoting everyone and everything else, there's little time
left to think about ourselves. Helping people understand the remit of the
communications team, the rhythm of communication, and the strategy you're
working toward and how it will help the business achieve its goal is
imperative to success.
Change your perspective
Ask yourself: Could your co-workers list your communication vehicles and their purpose?
Reading a blog could seem like a luxury to a time-poor employee, yet they
might change their view if they knew that's how the CEO shares strategic
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Email can be seen as an annoyance and just another glob of text to read,
but if people knew they received just one internal communication email a
week and it contains only operational news related to their job, they might
stop seeing it as spam.
What if employees have something they want to communicate? Do they
just send a group email, or even worse, a companywide missive? Do people
understand whom to go to and what the process is? Probably not.
Visibility is also important. If who we are and what we do are shrouded in
mystery because we spend all our time chained to our desks, it should come
as no surprise when our communications fall flat.
One hallmark of a great communicator is curiosity. We should be out there
networking-not to find out what's going on across the business, but also to
make sure the staff at large knows how we're supporting them.
So, when you're setting your priorities for 2017, make sure that
communicating your team, strategy and channels are high on the list. If you
get them right, you'll be laying the groundwork for future communications.
Remind employees regularly not just about channels and strategy but about
your achievements. Our industry boasts exceptionally talented people and
teams, so let's shout about it and tell our companies about all the great
stuff we're doing.
After all, we'd be the first people to wax lyrical on the importance of
setting an example.
Helen Deverell is a freelance internal communicator. She set up Helen
Deverell Communications in 2016 and previously spent 10 years working
in a variety of in-house and agency roles. She blogs at
justthewayicit.com, where a version of
originally appeared. Follow her on Twitter
@helendeverell, and visit her website,