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How to Stop Your Internal Communications From Being So Boring

How to Stop Your Internal Communications From Being So Boring

by | Mar 25, 2019 | By Karin Hurt, Clarity, Communication, Courageous Cultures |

In case you missed the memo, no one likes boring internal communications.

You don’t. I don’t. And neither does your team.

Oh sure, we used to tolerate it. But now we know better.

Because in the rest of our lives, we’re getting information in social soundbites, pithy podcasts, and our answers to almost everything are a YouTube search away. We’re used to people showing up human, without scripts, sharing their insights as if they’re talking to a trusted friend.

Three Best Practices to Take Your Internal Communications To the Next Level

If you want to build trust and connection, you’ve got to show up human. MBWA (management by walking around) is great (but tricky) for highly decentralized teams, remote employees, and contingent workers. How do you show up real in real time?

Here are a few best practices that can help.

1. Internal Communications Podcasts

What if you could just sit down and talk with your team Be real. Share your concerns. Talk about the behaviors that are needed for success?  A podcast is an inexpensive way to show up very real with your team.

Here’s a great example of an internal communications podcast from Valet Living where the Chief People Officer, Henry Toledo, sits down and has a very real conversation with their CEO, Shawn Handrahan. He talks with incredible transparency about how they’re doing against their financial plan, and then (LOVE THIS PART), gets very specific about the BEHAVIORS that need to happen in each role so that they can accomplish their mission.

Imagine if you’re an employee riding to work listening to this. It would feel like your CEO is riding along with you.

Now imagine you’re trying to decide whether to work there, or someplace else. Seems to me, feeling like you’ve already talked with the CEO tips the scales.

2.  Informal Video

Sure formal videos have an important place in your companies’ internal communications plan, but have you considered the power of connecting with your team through informal video?

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. Here’s how I know.

I was terrified to use informal video on LinkedIn to communicate with my clients and prospects. After all, I’m a professional keynote speaker. I don’t step on to a stage without hours and hours of polish and practice. Wouldn’t an off-the-cuff video shot with my computer webcam detract from my image? And then one day one of my clients called me.

“Karin, you’re completely missing a huge opportunity on LinkedIn. You need to show up consistently and add value.”

I was a bit offended, after all I share links to my blog posts all the time.

She continued. “Let’s be real. A link to a blog post is not enough. You’ve got to do video.”

And so I tried it, and my videos were attracting thousands of views and lots of great conversation in the first few days.

And, it’s led to new business. I’ve booked leadership development programs and keynotes that started with a LinkedIn connection saying, “Hey I saw your video and thought of you. We have this event coming up…”

These informal videos helped me to make a more human connection. It can help you too.

Imagine if you shared a 2-minute Monday morning video and shared it with your team, or a Friday recap of highlights of the week. Keeping it pithy and fun, with one clear message you want to reinforce.

Video can be a great addition to your five times, five different ways communication strategy.

3. Micro-Engagement Through Push Technology

One of the biggest challenges with internal communications is time. Employees skip right past the update email or don’t take the time to search the intranet for what they need.

But you know what’s hard to ignore? A text message. There are lots of platforms that make this easy to do a quick poll, send a short video message, or reinforce key priorities.

We use this approach in our long-term leadership development programs through our push-technology, Let’s Grow Leaders Learning Lab. Participants tell us it really helps to reinforce key concepts and keep their attention in between sessions.

Even an old school text message distribution list used well can go a long way in reinforcing what matters most for your team.

It’s hard to over-communicate. Your team is busy so it’s understandably challenging to get their attention. Give yourself a fighting chance by showing up a bit more human, interesting, and connected in real-time.

Your Turn.

How about you? Let’s crowd-source this a bit. What are your favorite ways to ensure your internal communications are interesting and helpful? 

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today?

4 Comments

  1. Alli Polin

    Great ideas! In the last organization i worked for, I can remember when the CEO would post to the internal blog. My boss, the SVP, demanded that everyone who reported to him write a comment so it looked like he had a lot of engagement, First of all, I was sure he didn’t write it but someone on his communications team did and second of all, do you think he responded to a single comment? Your ideas of podcasts and video make it clear that the person communicating is who they say they are – no more letting someone else craft your words. It’s all about showing up as you are and making a connection. Right on!

    Alli

    Reply
    • Karin Hurt

      Thanks, Alli. Oh, you raise such an important point about forced engagement! I’ve seen that so much in town halls, where execs will plant so many
      questions so they won’t have time to respond to any they haven’t prepared for.

      On the flip side, I remember being wildly impressed by a top executive who had come to do a presentation I knew was prepared for him. The projector stopped working and he had no slides (it was a 50 page deck), and he said “oh well,” and delivered all the information with no slides. He gained so much credibility with everyone in the room because we knew he actually knew what he was talking about.

      Reply
  2. Terri Klass

    Your post covers such an important topic about the need to reach out authentically. I am working with an organization now that has a very disconnected flavor. Emails go unanswered and no one tries to pull things together and communicate with intent. I love your idea of an internal communications podcast. Not only does it share valuable information but it allows every employee to feel closer to the senior leader.
    Thanks Karin for sharing these creative possibilities of ways to communicate!

    Reply
    • Karin Hurt

      Thanks, Terri, I so appreciate you sharing your experiences. When communication breaks down the impact on trust and productivity can be devastating. It sounds like you are doing important work with that team. Here’s a simple team survey we use to get people talking about expectations and where communication is working and breaking down. https://letsgrowleaders.com/2018/03/29/how-to-improve-your-team-communication/

      Reply

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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