If internal communicators were to participate in a companywide popularity contest chances are they may end up unsuccessful. Amy realizes that when Julie wanted her article included in the internal communications newsletter. Read my earlier post on ‘Are Internal Communicators in the Business of Keeping Stakeholders Happy?’.
Not because we don’t try hard enough. It isn’t really what internal communicators were meant to do – ‘please’ stakeholders. From our vantage point we are in a position to objectively assess what our clients need to be successful, how an organization needs to craft its communication and what will make audiences sit up and take notice.
That doesn’t always go well with stakeholders who very often believe they ‘know internal communications’. When internal communicators aren’t able to establish their credentials and build credibility about what they do and can achieve as an entity the gap is often filled by stakeholders who know a thing or two about ‘creating taglines’ or ‘writing articles’ or ‘designing ads’ or ‘suggesting the right vehicle’ to share information.
If you clearly articulate your agenda, how you value add and demonstrate impact the chances of clients listening to you is greater. You can ‘delight’ your clients by going beyond the brief, thinking on their behalf, sharing best practices and connecting the dots. You can delight your clients by pre-empting potential gaps in the campaign, partnering with the team on championing standards and removing roadblocks in the process.
However, delighting your stakeholders isn’t about ‘doing what they expect you to do’ but clarifying why one approach works best in their interest. Make clients ‘happy’ not by ‘pleasing’ them but by elevating their thinking about the function.
Lastly, making clients ‘happy’ by avoiding confrontations or not clearly defining roles and responsibilities can result in angst as your internal communications programming matures. Internal communicators aren’t meant to be ‘taking orders’ from clients but are expected to listen, evaluate and recommend suitable solutions that makes stakeholders effective in their effort.
What do you think?