Creating Internal Conversations & Communications That Stick


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Sometimes it's tricky to convince subject-matter experts to steer clear of corporate speak and make their communications creative, simple, clear and crisp! You also need to listen and create a conversation to engage employees in your message. I shared with the Journal of Internal Communications a few ideas that I’ve learned from others to help your communications ‘stick’.

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Creating Internal Conversations & Communications That Stick

  1. 1. DI GI TA L SA M PL EVol 1 | February 2013
  2. 2. DI G ITTo get your message across – fight AL SA M PLback against “corporate speak” ESometimes it can be tricky to Some years ago I attended a seminar led Be creative to make your communicationspromote a creative approach to by Steve Crescenzo, who I believe coined more entertainingcommunications or impose a the term “creative communication.” He Sometimes it’s hard to push back ondifferent tone of voice. Corporate basically took the cover of Cosmopolitan “corporate speak” when your ‘internalCommunications Specialist Sharon magazine and compared it with a regular customers’ – whether colleagues in otherBeattie discusses why it’s important corporate newsletter. He pointed out the departments or senior stakeholders – wantto “make things stick” to get your disparity between the two publications: to get ‘their’ message out. In their head,message across. on the one hand, Cosmo magazine is what what they’re saying sounds great and they people read outside of work – some exciting understand it. Unfortunately, many times,Softchoice is a technology solutions and news, catchy titles, nice layout – and on it’s filled with so many acronyms, jargon andservices company. We have offices in the other hand, the corporate newsletter vague statements – most employees’ eyesCanada and the US. My background is is what they get when they come to work roll or glaze over at the mere sight of it.internal but my previous role included a mix – boring headlines and corporate jargon.of media such as PR and marketing. I think It was hilarious and it made me realize, Simply expressing that their messages maythat my PR experience is valuable because “it’s no wonder people are not reading be misunderstood if we don’t use clear,I learned that whatever I’m communicating, most corporate comms”! To me it was a simple language, is often enough to getit needs to grab the attention of an audience wake-up call. It inspired me to revamp the them on board. Your customers’ aim andand cut through the thousands of other layout, tone and overall style of my previous yours are the same – to ensure employeesmessages coming at them on any given day. employer’s corporate newsletter. read, see, hear and understand what you’reIt needs to be engaging. putting out there. And as communicators, we are in a better position to advise on the best way to do this. NEXT PAGE The Journal of Internal Communication
  3. 3. DI G IT AL SA M PL EThe best way to keep our communications Concreteness: mission statementsengaging at Softchoice is through stories, are ambiguous to the point of beingmetaphors, analogies and humour. meaningless. We must explain our ideasParticularly, storytelling is core to howwe communicate as a company. Every in terms of human actions. Credibility: sticky ideas need to carry To ensure peoplecommunication – whether town halls, their own credentials, but hard facts are engaged andemails, e-newsletters, Yammer posts ormore – has some element of sharing stories. are not necessarily the right answer – Interview an expert, a celebrity or people listening to yourThey are a major element of how we‘make things stick’ around here. Our who have experienced something for themselves. [In our case, this is our own communications,Marketing team’s ongoing mission is employees!] you also needsimply stated as “We Make Things Stick” –inspired by the book “Made to Stick – Why Emotions: a compelling story about an individual will produce a greater effect to ensure you’reSome Ideas Survive and Others Die“ bybrothers Chip and Dan Heath. The book and emotional response. tories: a strong story will have longevity S creating aprovides six principles: and inspire others. Tell stories to get dialogue and Simplicity: a one sentence statement so people to act on your ideas. listening to them! profound that someone could spend a Many of us in Marketing have posters life time learning it. on our desks reminding us of the six Unexpectedness: creating impact is elements to keep in mind when developing often achieved through the unexpected communications. NEXT PAGE and surprise.
  4. 4. DI G IT AL SA M PL EKnow your goals and your audience Sharon works in corporateOverall, however, to be strategic, ensure communications at Softchoice – a Sometimes it’s hardyou’re clear on what your communications leading North American provider of to push back ongoals are and what you want to accomplish. technology solutions and services - andYou also need to get to know your audience has 10 years’ experience in corporate “corporate speak” with– what their wants, needs and perceptions communications, PR and marketing. internal customers.might be, because these will affect how She is also a long-term volunteer withyou’ll go about accomplishing your goals. the International Association of Business Simply explain thatIt takes time to know your audience. We Communicators and has served three your goals are thesurvey our people four times a year and terms as a member of its Torontobreak down the results by departments and Chapter’s board same and that theirgeographies to understand what is really message may becomeimportant for them to do their job effectively.We also do monthly follow-ups after Town misunderstood withoutHalls, have one-to-one meetings each week some creativity, andand use internal social media tools andpolling on Yammer. Why? To ensure people clear, simple language.are engaged and listening, you also need Often, this is enough toto ensure you’re creating a dialogue andlistening to them. get them on board!
  5. 5. DI G IT AL SA M PL EThanks for downloading this digital sampleof the Journal of Internal Communication.• The JoIC is a real book that’s delivered free to your desk• et inspired with real-life stories and expert advice G• evelop your career and stay passionate about your job by D reading about the industry’s most exciting developments. Discount CodeStart your professional subscription The JoIC is £20 an issue, and there’s a newnow by visiting: one every three months. Get your first issue for only £5 with coupon code: JOIC2013.