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The Importance of Strong Internal Communications

At Red Fan, we push our clients to dive into their messaging, branding and overall brand reputation in order to pursue a more unified message in the press. In many instances, companies are aligned, prepared and ready to make those messaging decisions. However, in some cases, we find that our communications strategy needs to dive much deeper into the company’s overall messaging, starting with the structure of their internal communications.

We chatted with Executive Coach and Strategist Linda Glass to learn more about internal communications and the importance of implementing a strong, strategic culture that helps to amplify your external brand’s message.

1. How do internal communications translate to a strong company culture?

The companies with the strongest, most impactful cultures do it through storytelling. Culture isn’t created through policies, memos or values put on the wall; it’s created through ongoing, constant reflection through stories. It takes intention and habit.

2. Do you think internal communications affect a company's reputation?

Absolutely. Internal communication is all about meaningful connection. Without it, you aren’t building trust. Those who have a great connection with their company speak well of it externally. Having no connection with your company leads to a negative reputation or no reputation at all. Just look at GlassDoor!

3. How does the way a company communicates internally affect how they communicate externally?

I have experienced several companies who are so focused on executing and getting it done that they have this false belief they don’t have time to do “fluffy” extra communication internally. Your quality and success in external communication starts at the core of your internal communication. If you are talking to your people and creating great, meaningful internal dialogue, you can bet that will translate to how they interact and communicate externally.

4. What are the five most important elements of a strong internal communications structure?

  1. A well thought-out calendar that allows you to be clear and consistent around key messages and that gives you the ability to react to needs as they arise.
  2. Finding the delivery methods and timing that are most meaningful to your people.
  3. Having someone in charge of driving communication and being intentional is key.
  4. Prioritization from the top down that communication is integral to everything you do; it’s not an afterthought.
  5. Hire great communicators! One person can’t “own” communication. EVERYONE needs to do it and find value in it.

5. What's the importance of CEO communication? Why do even some of the most seasoned executives warrant a coach? Is there a fear of being coached or resistance to having an advisor like you?

I’ve worked with several CEOs who have been great in their craft and have found that as they’ve risen through the ranks, it became less about what they knew technically, but how they motivated and inspired their teams to achieve. That’s all about communication and connection. In essence, you become the coach, not the player. So much about being a great leader is about learning the craft of coaching, reprioritizing time and leveraging the best behaviors to drive performance. Using a coach to help you assess and get to your highest potential has been a key differentiator for many of the greatest CEOs. It’s lonely at the top, and having a trusted advisor can make all the difference in actualizing their highest effectiveness as a CEO.

6. Do executives often hide the fact that they have someone coaching them? After all, they need to look as if they have it all together.

Not so much anymore. Perhaps ten years ago, one might be concerned about appearing vulnerable. However, today’s leaders believe in the power of vulnerability and continual learning. It is something they both need to embrace and role model for their teams if they want to reach their highest potential.

7. How can employees bolster strong internal communications?

Role model it. Take charge of communication and don't wait for a “program” to deliver it. If you see a gap or a need, raise it!

8. Where have you seen internal communication work really well?

Strong internal communications go hand-in-hand with the strongest cultures. Just look at the list of “Best Places to Work,” no question they are at the top because they are in a constant state of powerful communication with their employees.

9. How does working with your clients lead to conversations about PR?

When I’m working with a client, I have the opportunity to see behind the curtain and identify the root causes of many pain points. Sometimes that is hiring, sometimes it is sales, often times it’s communications. At that point I have the great privilege of reaching out to the experts, the PR pros like Red Fan, to offer solutions.

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