Answer the question of "what", avoid loaded words and work on the basis of the present situation. This is the foundation for success with internal communication, according to Joakim Lindström and Emilie Loman at LILO.
Internal change work may present a massive challenge to people dealing with communication. Not infrequently, tiny details are what determine how a message is received. It's important to keep tabs on a few basic things so you don't have to start off with an uphill struggle; the importance of not saying one thing and doing something else, for instance.
"If a company talks about transparency and openness, it's absolutely remarkable if their internal communication isn't permeated by the same principles. Credibility is the be-all and end-all, and it takes a long time to build up trust that's been undermined," says Kristofer Sandberg, communications officer at &frankly.
So how can we be successful with internal communication, and how can we get the team on board in the event of a change or launch?
Joakim and Emilie at LILO present us with the three most important factors:
- Make sure you answer the questions what, who, where, when, how and why.
- Avoid words like "unfortunately" and "should". Otherwise the brainstem will place a negative slant on your message.
- Focus on the now, the future and the solution (don't get tangled up in past problems).
Is there any way of influencing staff?
"Yes. You can ask them all to think about what challenges the new tool or change brings with it. Then they can leave these behind and focus on the advantages. And don't forget to follow up on what's gone well and what could be better.
What are the most common challenges as regards internal communication?
"Communication between managers and staff and between staff and customers. In many cases, neither managers nor staff have the right criteria. They don't know which words and phrases they should use or avoid. They don't know which questions need to be answered, or how to communicate to get everyone on board with the change. When we help companies and organisations, we first make them aware of how the brain works and clarify the fact that different people have different communication styles. This gives them a better understanding of one another and allows them to work together more effectively. It saves time, money and energy. And magic happens when you become a pro at communicating," says Joakim Lindström of Lilos.