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The Drama of Internal Communication: Improve Your Plan


Having a good internal communication strategy in place will help eliminate drama in the office.

Employees need to know the specific roles they play in their organization. Just like in a play, the better everyone knows their parts and what is expected of them, the more successful the outcome (or performance).

One of my side hobbies is performing with a local theater company. Musicals, dramas, comedy—I’ve done it all.

Occasionally, I have a dream (really a nightmare) that I’m about to go onstage and I don’t know my lines. I don’t know how I ended up unprepared, but it’s curtain time and I’m totally panicked because I don’t have the ability to communicate. Then I wake up.

No matter what kind of show I'm in, one thing always repeats itself: I have to learn lines and then consistently and clearly communicate those lines night after night to an audience that expects to understand the unfolding story. The more I consistently say the right lines, the more the audience will understand what is going on and feel involved. The more I leave things out or forget to talk (stage fright, anyone?), the more lost and frustrated they will feel.

Learning to effectively communicate is vital to business success

In other words, good communication is of vital importance to help people understand what is going on and meet their expectations. Good communication takes preparation and effective presentation.

A survey conducted this year by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) asked HR professionals which abilities they thought would be the most critical for them ten years from now. Three of the top four answers focused on communication skills, including relationship management and organizational leadership.

Download 8 Tips To Improve Internal Communication

Overestimating how well you communicate

These concerns are reflected in a SHRM article written by Rebecca Hastings titled “Leader Communication Could Be Better.” In her article, Hastings emphasizes that some leaders overestimate how effectively they communicate. This misperception can lead to information gaps in the workplace. These gaps are filled when the importance of frequent, consistent communication is realized.

Hastings says that, because of these gaps, this could be why more than a third of senior managers, directors, and employees say that staff members are “hardly ever” aware of what’s happening in their workplace. Too many employees feel uninformed or excluded from the decision-making process in the company’s strategy and future plans.

Improving poor communication with clear, consistent messages

To correct this issue, employees need to know the specific roles they play in their organization. Just like in a play, the better everyone knows their parts and what is expected of them, the more successful the outcome (or performance).

One way to increase potential success is to use multiple platforms to consistently communicate key messages to employees. By presenting information frequently and consistently from various sources (i.e. meetings, email, videos, voicemail), the more employees will feel well informed and connected to the company.

This approach would also reduce the possibility of employees missing important messages since there are multiple ways to access them consistently.

Planning your internal communication strategy

A couple of people Hastings interviewed for her article suggest the following tips for improving internal communication:

  • Learn what your staff values, such as their concerns, hopes, and expectations.
  • Seriously evaluate employee concerns and provide communications that address them.
  • Present company goals that make sense to employees and generate enthusiasm.
  • Send regular reminders about the organization’s goals and policies.
  • Offer opportunities for employee feedback to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Keep the content of messages consistent.
  • Provide enough background information so employees understand “why” something is being done.
  • Send important messages more than once using a variety of platforms to aid comprehension and reception.
  • Include everyone in the message; don’t assume a few employees will pass it on to everyone else.
  • Craft messages briefly and clearly, using words and phrases everyone will interpret accurately.

Remembering three little words can also be a guide for better management of employees’ expectations about internal communication:

  • How (the format that will be used)
  • When (time frame, how fast a response is received)
  • Whom (the team members or managers who receive the information)

Staying organized and consistent with your methods of internal communication will ensure that everyone is able to give their best performance, just like in the theater.



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