On internal communication

Continuing my unplanned theme on communication types, I wanted to make a couple of comments about the importance of internal communications.

The responsibility for internal communication often sits with Marketing, a position that invokes the spectre of PR and political spin. In other cases, internal communication is expected just to happen, miraculously, without much thought, planning, or quality considerations. These are the two extremes – spruiking and hoping.

Many organisations would do well to ensure that internal communication is authentic, relevant, interactive where possible, and planned. The planning aspect involves identifying the purpose, enabling the infrastructure and the people, and producing quality (as determined by the context) content in an effective format for distribution. But planning also involves enabling emergent and undirected communication to prosper without strangling the conversation by too many rules and restrictions. Communication with responsibility should be the motto. And communication can be formal and informal, and not always one way!

Knowledge management professionals, as facilitators and enablers of communicating knowledge and information, should have a significant role in shaping internal communications within the organisation. Even human resource professionals have become aware of the importance of good internal communications, as this post from Michael Specht recognised.

Internal communication is a strategic asset, an asset that maximises human and social capital, as well as informing and nurturing an effective and engaged workforce. Knowledge management professionals need to understand how internal communication works within their organisations, who “manages” it, and how knowledge management processes can leverage the existing communication structures (or enhance the existing structures).

In particular, the role of blogs, communities of practice, wikis, and other social media (e.g. Facebook) need to be articulated within an internal communications framework for they offer new delivery and networked communication channels for an organisation. Knowledge management professionals are an ideal resource for organisations wanting to improve and enhance the effectiveness of internal communication.

Coincidentally, I was recently sent an alert regarding an upcoming conference on Demonstrating the strategic importance of internal communications, scheduled for 13-15 February in Melbourne. Might be worth a look…

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