6 Ways To Spruce Up Your 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.”
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. You can also connect with me on Twitter @CoSkills.
What Readers Tweet About This Article:
— Liz Copeland (@LizCop) January 16, 2013
— Dennis Agusi (@DennisAgusi) January 18, 2013
— Beth Lloyd (@BethEllenLloyd) January 16, 2013
Note: Beth corrected her spelling in her next tweet. No doubt she is able to spell advice.