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 disheartening.
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 updates.
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 this article originally appeared. Follow her on Twitter @helendeverell, and visit her website, www.helendeverellcommunications.com.