When External Comms meets Internal Comms – when worlds collide

Internal Communications can feel a world away from External Communications. Find out how best to integrate the two divisions.

select-a-headI work within the ‘Internal Communications‘ department within a large regional company (that has global interests.) I’ve been here for six months or so, and until recently I had only heard tiny snippets from the External Affairs department. Sometimes it felt like they were sending out press releases without concern for how the news might affect our people, and without consideration for what we might like to promote to our workforce.

So, our teams met! Turns out the External Communications people aren’t as scary as they had sounded.

It was a brave step; my manager and others decided to drag our teams together so that we could have a chance to put faces to names and learn to share information and resources better.

Four teams met for an away day:

  • Internal Communications
  • Brand and Strategic Communications
  • Public Affairs
  • Media Relations

…with a view to introducing the concept that we were all part of ‘one communications department’ – which isn’t entirely accurate as we report into different company directors, but considering our tasks, it’s a fair description.

The key to the success of the day is that our managers set us the task for finding projects that need our communications expertise, and then running them as cross-departmental projects. As you should know, sharing objectives and working together to achieve shared aims is the surest way to getting people integrated.

So, might I ask what teams make up your Communication Departments? I know we all have different names and titles that mean the same thing, but what are yours?

And, most importantly, how well do you work together? Do you share info? Are you at odds with each other?


It’s my birthday week – I’m raising funds for FirstSigns (@FirstSigns) – basically, I will double anything that gets donated in January. Please read more about how I’ve stepped down after seven years and how I want to raise money so my successor can grow the voluntary organisation.

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