Internal communication (IC) is all about, unsurprisingly, how people effectively communicate or share information inside an organisation.
It’s often compared to marketing, but selling ideas to colleagues rather than customers, however, many practitioners would be horrified by that! internal communicators are more likely to be tasked with creating a shared understanding of strategy and culture and helping people work together to achieve common goals, than to sell a concept or product. However, the skills required definitely do overlap with those of marketers…
The one skill that is always associated with IC is writing. In fact, many people who now work in IC started out as journalists, and while writing clearly is definitely important, it’s no longer the only way of communicating inside businesses. Engaging people through storytelling is key, and this can be done in so many ways – videos, infographics, face-to-face, online meetings, animations, presentations, podcasts, posters, events, to name a few. IC professionals are excellent brief takers and writers, creative managers and multi-taskers! Variety is guaranteed, one day you could be working on wellbeing strategies, the next on engagement surveys, cyber security training, talking to leadership about communicating strategy or branding, or creating a communication plan to promote a charity event!
Currently, there are no degrees in Internal Communication, but there are professional and post-graduate qualifications available. The Institute of Internal Communications gives a good overview of learning and development resources. As a general rule, internal communicators need to be:
- Collaborative – ready to work with different teams and people at all levels
- Inquisitive – want to know how things work and how people interact
- Creative – enjoy finding new ways to share ideas and information,
- Empathetic – understand how communications will impact their colleagues
- Good at planning and managing projects – many communication activities are deadline driven
If you love creating content, then you may well enjoy internal communication. If you’re considering a career in this area it would be a good idea to build a portfolio of different types of communications, articles for newsletters or papers, social media posts, videos for websites etc that demonstrate you understand how communications attract attention and stand out and how you can influence people and make them think differently or take action.