The 6 skills needed to be a successful Internal Communications Manager
7th March 2011 by Sean Malone 0 comments
I feel like I have spent a lifetime in the communications industry on the agency side, and having met a gazillion Internal Communication Managers, I feel uniquely qualified to share with you all the 6 skills that are needed to be a successful Internal Communications Manager.
1. Have the courage to say no. If you don’t have the courage to stand up at an important meeting and tell the boss they’re wrong, then don’t take on the job. Having the guts to go against the grain and say “no”, whilst everybody else is saying “yes” (even if they don’t mean it!) is the most obvious hallmark of an effective Internal Communication Manager. Very often you are the only one in the room who is truly aware of what the real understanding and perception of the staff is and it is up to you to make everyone else aware of this.
2. Know the business: and I don’t mean reading all the head office blurb and communication: I mean that you need to get under the skin of the organisation. You need to visit depots and departments, meet managers – and most important of all, mix with people at the coal face – the real people who make the business tick.
3. Stay focused on the audience; understand who they are, their perceptions, needs and opinions. Write copy, create events and shoot videos with your audience always top of mind; what do you want them to think, feel, or do as a result of your communication? If you’re not sure yourself what the answer to that is, don’t send the communication!
4. Stay on-message. The secret to success is to agree on the core messages and then keep banging away at them over and over again to re-enforce the message. Most senior managers get bored having communicated and retold the same message two or three times, but you mustn’t. Even though you’ve communicated the same thing hundreds of times, the message is still vital and fresh to the new starter, or to the employee who is hearing it for the first time.
5. Be consistent and become the trusted supplier of fresh, regular information presented in a manner which is easy to consume: nice, attractive bite-sized chunks of appetising information.
6. Be collaborative (and don’t be arrogant) and recruit around you a virtual army of colleagues, suppliers and friends who are as passionate about helping you achieve your communication objectives as you are.