It’s Official: Internal Communication IS Boring
The other day, I performed a mini-survey on Twitter. I sent out a question: Does Internal comms bore you? What can I say? Internal communication bore people. A lot.
Internal Communication is lacking important ingredients
In my post 6 Ways To Spruce Up Your Internal Communication, I write about the traits as Chip and Dan Heath’s identifies as common to the stories and ideas that stick to people’s mind. In their book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die they talk about simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories as ingredients in viral ideas and content.
In the Twitter mini-survey, it was obvious that internal corporate messages lacked all or most of the criteriums which the Heaths identified as crucial for making ideas stick.
Reasons why internal communication is boring
No one said “I think internal comms is amusing!“. Obviously, they were all clearly bored and had similar yet different reasons for being so. Let’s have a look at what Jon Weedon, Internal Communicator himself, and Marketing Chap, a great guy working in marketing, pr and social media, say about it: What Jon believes is missing in internal communications can be translated into some of the traits in the Heath and Heath’s list above: emotions, concreteness, simplicity, unexpectedness and stories. This means that from the Made to Stick list, only credibility remains. Oh, so boring! But not even boredom is proof for credibility. Marketing Chap believes internal communications professionals need to have more insight into the industry itself to be able to persuade and write credible content. He tweets: Sometimes knowledge is the enemy of communication, but naturally, an internal communicator can’t be clueless about his industry or the situation for the employees. Marketing Chap say it well below:
Sing the right songs to your employees
Marketers know that emotions sell. If people feel nothing, they do nothing. That’s applicable to internal communications as well. The clue to a great story is to make people care. And to make it relevant and appropriate. “Don’t sing Gold Digger at a wedding“, Jon Weedon says. What a great analogy when it comes to understanding your audience!
Two parties, one bridge
Marketing Chap points out a problem area we’re often overlooking in the name of transparence: internal communications as a function solely for top down communication. Companies try hard to involve employees by explaining the management’s point of view to them. But even the most transparent businesses tend to forget that it’s of equal importance for the management to understand the employees’ situation. Marketing Chap suggests rightly that a comms manager should be a bridge between the two.
What do you think? Who should internal communications serve? And in what way do you want them to serve you the company updates?
What readers tweet about this
— Stephanie Johnson(@SJohnson85) January 15, 2013
@coskills I don’t think it’s an either/or situation – it should be possible to serve both if it’s a good company
— Sarah Browning (@BrowningYork) January 15, 2013
— Int. Comms. Trends (@IC_trends) March 6, 2013