I had the pleasure of joining a hundred internal communications specialists at PR Week’s Strategic Internal Communications event at 30 Euston Square, London.
Why did I attend?
Is there a need for an events professional to attend a conference focused on employee engagement tactics and channel strategies to communicate effectively to a workforce? Absolutely. As live events communications specialists, we need to both understand the challenges faced in communicating effectively and the latest techniques and mechanisms in order to achieve successful results. To really develop and drive home messages delivered on stage they should be supported by, and consistently communicated via, the existing channels used by the business.
What did I learn?
I am sure you don’t want or need to read a blow-by-blow account of a very worthwhile and packed day, so I will share the key moments which really struck a chord with me.
Blending old and new. Many businesses need to address at least three and sometimes five generations so make sure you vary your communication to connect with them all.
Get the board onboard. It’s imperative those ultimately responsible for the voice of the business are not only aware but actively engaged with the long-term strategy and their role. The leadership needs to be upfront and honest.
Prepare to pilot. It might not work, but don’t let failure put you off as defined pilot projects which can be evaluated and adjusted are powerful tools.
Manage the middle. The link between the senior team and the shop floor can hold the key to successful communication.
Find everyday stories. Reputations of organisations are built on honest and authentic stories. Find them, and use them as they will connect across a business.
Facilitate, don’t control. Allow the personality and character of your workforce to shine through. Rigid control can stifle people’s desire and willingness to communicate back to the business.
Little and often. Don’t use video to cover lots of content. Video is a powerful tool that should be used to communicate concisely but frequently to create an emotional response.
What will I do tomorrow?
Apart from being brimful of ideas for our own internal communications strategy at SPARK THINKING and sharing a great idea with my client for their conference in January, I will be looking more closely as what we learn as a result of our internal communications.
Today the focus was, of course why, what and how we communicate with an intended audience, but the overriding message was listen, and learn.
Creating successful and creative communication will soon lose impetus if the responses generated fall on deaf ears. Take time to understand where issues and challenges are arising and why. Having invested resources in strategic communication platforms take the necessary time to respond, which further cements the relationship between your business and your workforce. In not listening you may as well shout down a well, as all you will hear back in the future is the echo.