6 Ways To Spruce Up Your Internal Communication

internal communication

What do you do when a book or an article bore you? Let me guess – you put it away and move on to something else. That’s natural. That’s what people do. We don’t stick with something boring.

Legendary advertising guru David Ogilvy once said: You cannot bore people into buying your product. (I’ve written a story about it here). That’s true even for internal comms: you cannot bore people into reading your corporate messages. People read less than you could imagine. And when it’s boring, dull or complicated, they stop.

Employees don’t think: “Oh, this is from my company so I’ll read every of the 3 473 words the internal comms department are publishing today.”

No, they act the same at work as when they watching something boring on television at home. They switch channel. If your intranet isn’t funny, their Facebook sure is. [Tweet this!]
That’s the truth and you’ll have to adapt to it. If the hill will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the hill. Ancient knowledge, still not applied in most companies. [see It’s Official: Internal Communication IS Boring].

Why some stories “stick” and others die

Chip and Dan Heath have written the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die about why a lie or an urban legend can get halfway around the world in no time, while people with important ideas – business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others – struggle to make their ideas or communication “stick”.

Heath & Heath say ideas that stick share the same traits and attributes:

1. Simplicity
2. Unexpectedness
3. Concreteness
4. Credibility
5. Emotions
6. Stories

internal communication

How To Design Your Internal Communication the Sticky Way

Let’s spruce up internal comms a little! Why not use Heath & Heath’s attributes for a sticky story when writing corporate messages? We all want our communication to attract and stick to people’s minds. Here’s how:

1. Simplicity

Write for a 12 year old! 12 year olds are smart, so it’s not demeaning for anybody. But 12 year olds are impatient, which means you’ll have to cut the crap. You’ll also have to use plain language, because 12 year olds are not familiar with corporate bullshit or the associated buzzwords yet.

2. Unexpectedness

Use a little drama! Did you have a huge business issue that some of your employees solved elegantly? Build up the conflict and celebrate your heroes.

3. Concreteness

Skip the mumbo-jumbo, the buzzwords, the bullshit. Tell it like it is. People read less than you think and anything over 100 words is only read by 20 %. Therefore, go straight to the point, give examples and clear calls to action.

4. Credibility

Who says this? Based on what? And why? Find the right spokespersons to say the right things. Do your research before you make a statement. And remember that when employees know why they are doing something, they are likely to be more productive, take on higher responsibility and easier accept change.

5. Emotions

Marketers know that emotions sell. If people feel nothing, they do nothing. That’s applicable to internal communications as well. Think of a great movie. Make people laugh and cry. Challenge them. And write your pieces in a way which will make them react.

6. Stories

Real people’s stories make other people care. People love to read about people they know. Outline your company’s story and let the employees tell it themselves. Interview people in different departments and on different levels in the company. Let your business live and breathe your core values through the words of your employees

Let’s be creative! Share your best practises or ideas on how to make internal comms more fun. Speak your mind in the comment box below, or email me at anna@communicateskills.com. You can also connect with me on Twitter @CoSkills.

What Readers Tweet About This Article:

Note: Beth corrected her spelling in her next tweet. No doubt she is able to spell advice.

Photo credit:
medically_irrelevant via photopin cc
Jeezny via photopin cc

About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for SteamFeed.com once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at communicateskills@gmail.com.

4 Responses to 6 Ways To Spruce Up Your Internal Communication

  1. […] “Let's spruce up internal communication a little! Employees think like this: If your intranet isn't funny, their Facebook sure is.”  […]

  2. […] Let's spruce up internal communication a little! Employees think like this: If your intranet isn't funny, their Facebook sure is.  […]

  3. thanks for this wonderful post would you please explain about the way of speaking to reduce connectives

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