Internal communication is a vital component of organizational success.
However, it’s frequently the more high-profile external communicators who receive all the attention, credit and glory. It doesn’t have to be this way.
To gain more respect and influence, and win a better seat at the table, communicators should focus on three Cs:
Exhibiting this trinity of qualities will ensure internal communication is properly budgeted for, fully appreciated, and viewed as a central component of organizational strategy.
If you want senior stakeholders to take your advice and suggestions, you must establish your ability to do your job well. That means consistently demonstrating your competence in ways that are meaningful to your bosses. If they only care about numbers, focus on presenting data. If retention is their chief concern, make that your concern too.
People often assume that experience and qualifications alone can speak for their level of competence. Don’t be shy about showing what you’re capable of. Achieving a perception of competence requires consistently delivering tangible results—in metrics that resonate with your target audience.
Credibility comes from delivering results. The old saying, “Doing exactly what it says on the tin,” is 100 percent true here. To build credibility, you must consistently deliver on what you say you are going to do.
The term “self-promotion” has negative connotations, but touting your successes and making people aware of the value you bring is crucial.
To win more credibility in the eyes of key stakeholders:
- Make sure all projects have measurable goals and that they are tracked, recorded and reported.
- Network internally within your organization. When you attend meetings with senior executives, always be ready with a snappy elevator pitch of your relevant achievements if asked what you’re working on.
- When looking for buy-in on a new initiative, tout the successes of previous projects.
Lack of confidence is the downfall of many internal communicators. Exuding confidence is essential for building credibility and earning a reputation for competence.
If you’re an introvert, find ways to assert your knowledge. You don’t have to be a TED Talk presenter or an accomplished author, but you should carry yourself and present your ideas in a way that reassures people. Use confident language such as “I recommend” instead of “I guess.”
Don’t be afraid to stand up for your department or your projects. Be assertive and firm.
Of course, planning and preparation are essential. Ultimately, to have any hope of communicating effectively and influencing others, you must first believe in yourself.
A version of this post first appeared on the Poppulo blog.