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Avoid these 10 mistakes in your internal communications strategy


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An effective internal communications strategy is crucial to your financial bottom line. Effective communicators and increased profits are directly related. Here are 10 mistakes you should avoid so you can stop sabotaging the way you communicate.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Avoid these 10 mistakes in your internal communications strategy

  1. 1. Avoid These 10 Mistakes in Your Internal Communications Strategy Stop Sabotaging the Way You Communicate
  2. 2. created by
  3. 3. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. ~ George Bernard Shaw
  4. 4. FACT Without effective internal communication, your business is doomed. Without good communication methods, companies fall behind in productivity, profits, and employee satisfaction.
  5. 5. What a good internal communications strategy should do: Help team members fully understand the company’s objectives, values, and culture Turn your employees into brand ambassadors Build a company culture of honesty and trust Improve employee retention, engagement, and productivity Provide easy access to important information so everyone can perform their jobs well
  6. 6. Mistake #1 Letting information just trickle down from the top The traditional “hierarchy” model of communication in which information trickles down from top management to front-line workers is fraught with problems. Slow distribution, misplaced data, and lost information are common issues.
  7. 7. Assume nothing. Just because the CEO told the executive manager a piece of news doesn’t mean it reached everyone that needed to hear it. And when important information and ideas actually do get passed along the chain of command, they often get distorted and misunderstood before they reach their final destination. Speed up the flow of information with a good communications strategy so that everyone stays on the same page.
  8. 8. Mistake #2 Not asking for feedback Really, the only way to measure the effectiveness of your message is if the other person understood it. Here’s a great definition of effective communication from “Effective communication is a two-way process that includes sending the right message that is also being correctly received and understood by the other person/s who is receiving it on the other end.”
  9. 9. You need two-way dialogue. Information is the simple sharing of facts, but communication implies a two-way dialogue. This is a really important distinction that can transform both your current and future communication strategies, so let’s say it again: information and communication are not the same thing.
  10. 10. Ask yourself how you communicate. Do you feel like you do communicate with your employees on a regular basis, but they’re still “not getting it?” Then ask yourself this question: are you really communicating with your employees or just giving them information?
  11. 11. Stop throwing information at people. We need to stop tossing information at our employees just assuming they’ll understand it, and really start communicating with them to guarantee that they get it.
  12. 12. Mistake #3 Ignoring your employees’ expectations Because of the recent technology revolution, millennials (a.k.a. digital natives) expect to be socially connected to everyone and everything all the time. This expectation not only includes their personal lives but also extends to their workplace environments.
  13. 13. What HR managers are doing: HR managers are acknowledging the importance of more interactive environments where workers can engage with each other through internal social networks and access real-time information, feedback, and resources.
  14. 14. Staying ahead of the technological curve Because the current and future workforce is and will be mostly comprised of millennials, employers need to stay ahead of the technological curve to ensure maximum engagement, productivity, and efficiency from their employees. And, with 1 in 5 people in the world classified as smartphone owners, it’s time we tap into these digital skills and harness them for the workplace.
  15. 15. Mistake #4 Using outdated methods The 1980s called. It wants its Rolodex back. Updating your outdated, paper-based, internal communication practices with automated and cloud-based systems produces lots of benefits: Reduced costs Increased productivity Less employee turnover More efficient communication Insurance against disasters
  16. 16. Paper is a problem. These statistics highlight the general workplace problems with manual paper processes: 1.Workers spend 5-15% of their time reading information but up to 50% of their time trying to locate it. 2.7.5% of documents are lost; the remaining 3% are misfiled. 3.Average cost to manually process a single invoice: $24 4.Average labor costs spent by organizations: $20 to file a document $120 to find a misfiled document $200 to reproduce a lost document (Source: Going Paperless Saves Time and Hassle)
  17. 17. Use electronic solutions. Automated and web-based solutions allow efficient management of forms, tasks, and employee socialization in the company culture. These 3 components are essential for every new worker. In addition to managing these three components, an automated system can also build a network, assist with compliance training, and manage performance. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
  18. 18. Mistake #5 Procrastination. Period. Communicate early. No matter how good of a “secret” you think the impending resignation of the CEO is, chances are your employees are already chatting about it. Be proactive about communicating big changes early on so employees don’t spread rumors and gossip.
  19. 19. Decrease resistance to change. Employees often resist change because they don’t understand how the changes will personally affect them. The more you communicate quickly and honestly about what’s going on in the company, the more you will have the support of your staff.
  20. 20. Mistake #6 Not repeating your message When managers want to deliver important messages, it’s important to deliver the same message multiple times. Recent studies have shown that managers who ask their employees to perform a given task more than once are more successful in completing projects.
  21. 21. Repeat after me: repeat it. In “Effective Managers Say the Same Thing Twice (or More)”, a team of researchers shadowed 13 managers in 6 companies for over 250 hours. The team recorded every type of communication and how frequently different delivery tools were used. Action: 1 of every 7 types of communications were repeated but delivered through different mediums. Results: Managers who were more deliberately redundant completed projects faster and with fewer mishaps. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  22. 22. Use lots of channels. Effective tools that can be used to deliver the same message include: Face-to-face meetings Video messages Telephone conferences Emails Text and other documentation Social media networks/intranets
  23. 23. Mistake #7 Having poor email skills Email is still the #1 communication tool at work, but it often causes more problems than it solves, especially if you use it poorly. One of the main problems with email is its lack of feedback. There is little give and take to the conversation. Because there is no measurement of understanding, misconceptions flourish and parties involved become suspicious of others’ intentions.
  24. 24. Do it right the first time. Since email can find its way into the wrong inbox through a variety of careless errors, it is important that you always use effective email communication. One rule of positive email conduct is to avoid long or frustrating strings of email when a phone call or face-to-face meeting will solve the issue in a more efficient manner.
  25. 25. Learn good email behaviors. More tips for using email effectively include the following: Create interesting, clear subject lines. Never YELL AT YOUR RECIPIENT (i.e. use ALL CAPS). Be civil and polite. Include non-verbal cues (pictures, videos, etc.) to increase understanding. Be brief. Remove all unnecessary information to keep your messages short and focused. Reduce your “email anxiety” by scheduling specific times to check and respond to messages instead of switching between applications all day long.
  26. 26. Conquer challenges with good email communication. Creating and sending the right kinds of emails will boost connections with your employees, current clients, and potential customers. Interactive video email, in particular, is an ideal tool for customizing content and sending personal multimedia messages for greater impact.
  27. 27. Mistake #8 Being a poor listener Being an effective communicator is impossible without good listening skills. Managers should actually listen more than they speak, because, as we all know, talk is cheap. Taking the time to really listen to what your employees are saying is crucial for an effective internal communications strategy.
  28. 28. Listening builds the right foundation. Listening is the foundation of any good relationship. It demonstrates your open- mindedness and genuine concern. From recognition of day-to-day challenges to input on larger company issues, employees greatly appreciate being heard.
  29. 29. Pay it forward. In short, the most effective way to capture employee attention and loyalty is to pay it forward by giving employees your attention first.
  30. 30. Mistake #9 Making it too complicated The best communication is straightforward. In Made To Stick, Dan and Chip Heath discuss the “Curse of Knowledge.” Complex information takes time to process and take action on. Boil your message down to its core. Make it as simple as possible without losing the essence. This is difficult. It is easy to say a lot and cover all the bases. It is hard to say a little and cover what is necessary. But it’s worth it; brevity inspires action.
  31. 31. Don’t overdo it. According to “You Won’t Finish This Article: Why people online don’t read to the end,” most people read only 50% of an email, webpage, online article, etc., before they bounce to the next thing they have to read. This implies that anything too long or hard to understand will just be skipped, skimmed over, or ignored by half of your recipients.
  32. 32. Mistake #10 Not making a plan in the first place Not having any communications strategy is just as bad as having a dysfunctional one. Organize your plan and then document it, focusing on (among other things) the tools you’ll use to communicate and collect feedback.
  33. 33. Have a goal and aim for it. There’s a saying that goes something like this: if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Don’t leave anything in your business to chance. The communication strategies you choose impact every area of your company, especially your financial bottom line.
  34. 34. Get the results you want. Here’s the main goal of any good internal communications strategy: turning your employees into effective communicators that increase your bottom line. These two elements—effective communicators and company profits—are directly related.
  35. 35. Start increasing profits. Companies with effective communicators achieved 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last 5 years compared to firms judged to have less effective communications. (Source: Edeleman Insights Comprehending Change 3.0)
  36. 36. Here’s the bottom line. Mastering internal communication is not only possible but crucial to the success and profitability of your organization. Effective communicators increase profits. As you consider adjusting or internal communications strategy, make sure you avoid these ten big mistakes.
  37. 37. Review: Top 10 Mistakes 1.Letting information just trickle down from the top 2.Not asking for feedback 3.Ignoring your employees’ expectations 4.Using outdated methods 5.Procrastination 6.Not repeating your message 7.Having poor email skills 8.Being a poor listener 9.Making it too complicated 10.Not making a plan in the first place
  38. 38. Ving is an all-in-one smarter messaging tool that collects practical information so you can improve your digital communication style. Creating unique and appealing multimedia messages is critical to reach your contacts on a personal level. Use Ving to: ► Communicate policy updates ► Streamline onboarding procedures ► Improve management communications ► Increase employee engagement ► Boost compliance training Click here to try it for free!
  39. 39. Copyright 2014