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Communications, Rants

Don’t read about internal communications

I read books about internal communications, communication theory, engagement and writing. I consider them to be informative and enjoyable. They inform my work, and they reinvigorate my interest in the subject of internal comms.

copy-poseBut, I don’t read too many ‘internal communications’ blogs on a daily basis, and as a communications professional, I don’t think you should either.

What is it with high-paid professionals in the UK that makes them write such dry material? Yes, I’m certain it’s valuable, accurate and that their ideas are worthwhile executing – gods know the realm of internal communications needs some improvement. But Human Resources, Employee Engagement and Internal Communications are not dry, dull subjects. They are about people, they’re about us, they’re about what we do, how we do it, and who we do it with. People are the driving passion behind a company, and people should be at the heart of our People Centred Comms!

Me? No, I don’t read the Melcrum blog very much, although we should all be familiar with Melcrum’s work. While I respect that Melcrum is an established company and offers a great many services that are useful and valuable (their ‘packs’ are worth buying / downloading I find), I don’t find their blog articles ‘speak’ to me. I love learning about the authors, but I don’t always find that the content means so much to me. (And As I publish this, I note some fab people are writing on the blog just this month, sheesh, am I ever wrong…)

Me? I read outside of the box of internal comms, and I think you should too. Artists and designers can become stifled if they consume the very same material that they’re trying to create. Don’t consume and create the same stuff, consume inspiring stuff while you’re busy creating fantastic articles, speeches, presentations and announcements for your people.

I read blogs about social media, customer service, grammar, writing, technology and about blogging itself – these varied topics help me go beyond my well-worn patch as an internal communicator, writer and editor and hopefully allow me grow as a person and as a communicator, serving the needs of the audience and the company. Sticking with internal comms specific blogs becomes stifling – the same ol’ problems and same ol’ solutions get cycled: what to measure, how to measure, reaching offline audiences, reaching specific people, crisis communications etc.

[But of course, referring to ‘best practices’ and known solutions is wise.]

I’m sure I cover these sort of topics; I ruddy well hope so anyway because they do need discussion. I can only hope that I bring a different take, a fresh view, to these staid subjects. I don’t think of myself as a senior, experienced comms person, rather, I see myself as someone who very much appreciates the theory, but has to implement good comms on a daily basis, to tight time frames and with no budget. I do internal communications in the real world, and I hope my blog reflects the highs and lows I’ve been through.

All I’m saying is, yes, Internal Communications is a specialist subject, but in order to be ahead of the game we have to widen our interests, go further than those dull ‘been here since Web One Point Oh’ books and white papers and get involved in what’s happening now in real life. Get outside the Int Comms box and read the exciting stuff that’s happening in social media, within start-ups, and in the media.

People to follow and read:

@ChrisBrogan over at chrisbrogan.com – social media in the enterprise
and with your customers

@ProBlogger over at problogger.com – how to engage your readers and write better

@CopyBlogger over at copyblogger.com – running a business online, blogging and engaging readers and customers

and @SoniaSimone over at remarkable-communication.com

@ittybiz over at ittBiz.com – stunning marketing copy – I mean that.  You will be stunned by the language, and it works!

dailywritingtips.com – get the scoop of the true meaning of words and remember to choose appropriate vocabulary. (Yes, they have Twitter, but they ain’t usin’ it right. Sucks.)

[Wedge]

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Photo credit: yann!s

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

2 thoughts on “Don’t read about internal communications

  • Good post, Wedge, but I’m not sure I agree entirely. Like a lot of internal communicators, I’m the only person in my role in my organisation, and so much of what I do is based on ideas and best practice pilfered from people I know via networks and blogs.

    It’s certainly true, though, that a lot of blogs cover the same well-trodden ground. We internal communicators need to learn from others outside our sector – in social media, technology, journalism, and so on – but there’s still more we can all learn from other internal communicators too.

  • Hi Sharon, thanks for stopping by again, always a pleasure.

    I certainly hope you don’t agree with my title! Where would my blog be left if we all dropped off the web and read books!?!?

    But I think I agreed with you when I said that referring to ‘best practices’ and known solutions is wise – in the full sense of the word.

    On the shoulders of giants, and all that.

    I didn’t invent comms, I’ve learnt some things myself, but I doubt if I’ve invented anything new; I’ve learnt from people here around me, in the office and online. Authors too. I trust my personal approach to communications though, and I encourage people to develop an ‘approach’ (rather than just follow process maps!) :)

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