Internal communication: Giving people what they want
As public relations professionals, the bulk of our time is often spent using media relations and social media tools to communicate with our external audiences. But internal communication is also a large part of our responsibility when messages need to be shared with our group of co-workers or our client’s staff.
Individuals within and across an organization’s departments need to be kept informed about company news and initiatives. However, many individuals will stop paying attention if you send them too much information, and chances are they’ll me mislead if they only hear news through the “grapevine.”
Our job, therefore, is to select the most relevant messages for our internal audiences and deliver them in a way that is easy to understand.
With this tactic in mind, consider the next five suggestions when communicating news internally:
- Make sure your recipient list is up to date. Your communications won’t be very effective if there are people missing from the distribution list, or if you’re sending announcements to people who are no longer with the company.
- Communicate regularly. Depending on the volume of messages you need to communicate, get on a regular schedule so internal workers know when to expect messages from you.
- Consolidate messages. There’s no need to send out five emails when all could be communicated in one newsletter. Position one or two communication tools as resources for everything employees need to know about company news and initiatives.
- Keep it simple. Like the rest of us, our internal teams are busy and don’t have time to dig for the information you’re trying to communicate to them. Keep your messages short and concise. Use strong headlines, bullet points and bold words to draw attention to the most important messages.
- Make it visually appealing. If possible, design your newsletters and communications to be inviting and on-brand. People are used to seeing black and white email text everyday. Make your messages stand out.
Last, but certainly not least, ask for feedback on your efforts. The best way to make your communications as effective as possible is to survey your audience and learn their preferences for receiving news – and tailor your efforts to their responses.
Internal communication is often an overlooked – but nonetheless very important – piece of the public relations puzzle. What suggestions would you add to this list?