Two days and 14 conference sessions = information overload. On the Facebook campus in sunny Menlo Park, CA, the Ragan Communications conference didn’t disappoint, providing more ideas for better internal communications that would overwhelm even the most seasoned veteran.
If you couldn’t attend, don’t worry. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Here are five great ideas from the conference, stolen and consolidated for your immediate use.
1. Stop being an order taker.
Your HR Department says they need to put out a communication about a new company benefit. The communication must go out ASAP and they want all their information (three pages worth) included. You smile and say OK, but here’s what you’re really thinking: “This is too much information. Why didn’t you contact me weeks ago when you made the final decision about the benefit? I don’t have time to look to see what communication channels will work best. And the list can go on and on. Stop being a fast-food communicator. Instead, be a strategic partner that help your internal customers think through their message and determine the best way to deliver it. Organize internal comms like a newsroom to consider what, when and how to cover important topics.
2. Inclusion and belonging is everyone’s responsibility.
“That is not my job” is not a good response. But we’ve all heard it, or said it. Instead, think of yourself as a host of the party. If we are going to engage with employees, we need to make them feel welcome, like they belong. People want to be seen, heard and valued. Think of diversity as being invited to the party and inclusion as being asked to dance.
3. Change the tires while the car is moving.
Change is going to happen—it’s the new normal. We have to adapt and work with our teams and departments to be successful. Work is not going to stop, and everyone will have their own opinions and ideas. Communicators have to find creative ways to communicate in times of change. This means meeting employees where they are and really listening to what they have to say. Transformation is never linear. Are you communicating to the right people in the right way? Measurement is key. Keep in mind that there is no perfect time to measure and that your journey is never finished. Feedback is a gift, and it’s not always straightforward. What is the ROI of hugging your mom?
4. I drink because you’re boring.
If you are falling asleep while writing your own story, so will your readers. Are you giving your audiences the visual motivation to engage with your content? Are you writing headlines to grab their attention? You have only seconds to pull them in. And does your story deliver without going on too long? Everyone is on overload, so make every word count.
5. Know your dance partner.
To be able to communicate to your employees you need to know who they are. You need to “speak” in their language. Stop the jargon (starting with the C-suite), because no one really talks that way. Make your stories compelling and consistent, and show your passion for people and the work they’re doing.
Team Word Nerds: Allison Teska, Jacquelyn Webb, Alicia Witters, Rebekah Carsey, Mac Daly