External Communication Internal Communication Public relations

Is Internal Communications Different from External Communications? How and Why Does it Matter?

Have you ever wondered – Is internal communications any different from external communications? At first glance, it might seem like they share similar traits – engaging audiences, utilizing various channels, crafting content, and measuring impact. However, if we dig deeper, we uncover a world of disparities that demand a distinct approach and mindset. In this post, I explore why internal communication professionals  and those wanting to begin careers in this function need to invest in thinking differently about the domain and its invaluable contribution to organizations.

·       Cross-Functional Collaboration: Unlike external communications, internal communications necessitates collaboration beyond just those involved as stakeholders. Understanding the entire employee life cycle entails working closely with HR, legal, business units, and leadership. The challenge often lies in breaking down silos and fostering a culture of interdisciplinary cooperation, which is often the bane of organizations.

·       Empathizing with Employee Needs: Effective internal communication goes beyond disseminating information; it involves understanding employee aspirations, perceptions, and sentiments. Recognizing and responding to these needs build trust and foster a sense of belonging within the organization.

·       Long-Term Change Management: Managing change within an organization isn’t a one-time campaign; it requires a sustained effort to earn employees’ trust. Internal communicators play a crucial role in facilitating transparent communication throughout the change process, ensuring employees feel informed and empowered.

·       Demonstrating Credibility and Gaining Buy-In: Many internal stakeholders may lack a comprehensive understanding of how internal communication functions. Thus, it’s imperative for communication professionals to demonstrate credibility and secure buy-in by showcasing the tangible value their strategies bring to the organization.

·       Optimizing Resources: Doing more with less is a common challenge in internal communications. Setting clear expectations, establishing boundaries, and providing stakeholders with the necessary resources and tools are vital for maximizing efficiency and effectiveness.

·       Cultural Context Matters: What works for one company may not necessarily be effective in another. Understanding the unique culture of your organization is paramount. Tailoring communication strategies to fit your organizational culture and leveraging influencing skills are key to success.

·       Authentic Inside-Out Approach: When you have your captive audiences raring to share positive news and views about your organization, it is perceived very differently than when communication is staged to portray a culture that isn’t moored to reality. This is where internal communications can inspire, empower and enable employees to be ambassadors and create the brand impression that matters.

Internal communications is a multifaceted domain that requires a specialized approach and skill set. By recognizing its unique challenges and opportunities, professionals can leverage its complete potential as a strategic asset for organizational success. It’s time to shift our perspective and invest in thinking differently about internal communications. After all, the way we communicate internally shapes not just our culture inside organizations but even for our society.

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