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As the only professional body dedicated to internal communication in the UK, we exist to help organisations and people succeed through promoting internal communication of the highest standard.

Harold Macmillan probably never realised how prophetic his comments would become. When asked what the biggest challenge facing him as a leader was he gave that now well-known reply “Events, dear boy, events”. 

In this, frankly bonkers, period of post Brexit fallout who would have believed that one singular decision could cause a multiple pile-up of events? From the Brexiteers who lit the fire then scarpered off as fast as they could, the cut-throat leadership challenges and the jockeying for power, you have to admit politics has never been this exciting before.
 
So what does it all mean for us as internal communications practitioners?
 
While we’ve got little idea how our organisations will respond and what the economic and European landscape will look like over the coming years, how we position ourselves to cope with the changes is key. It’s generally true that during tougher times budgets get cut or squeezed until it hurts and communication can be the first to be turned off (not without consequences as we well know). 
 
Despite all the confusion, now is not the time to simply keep calm and carry on. Internal communicators need to reach for their inner activist and continue to make the case for communication with a renewed passion and vigour. As organisations start to adjust to the consequences, realign, or fundamentally change, IC needs to provide that constant drumbeat of communication and consistency. 
 
Now, more than ever, internal communication needs to be the glue that keeps us all together. If we were necessary during the last recession, through this Brexit period we will prove indispensable!
 
Shouting out is simply not enough though. One important lesson of the referendum, and let’s face it there are many, is that communications failed us big style. We didn’t believe what we were being told (on either side). Fundamentally, over the years there’s been a breakdown of trust and our politicians knowing this really went for broke. From predictions of catastrophic financial meltdown to promised pots of gold for our creaking NHS, communication was cynically used by all who saw it as an opportunity to further their aims and careers.
 
As we know, internal communication doesn’t live in some hermetically sealed bubble. It is part of the real world (and people’s lives) and it’s our responsibility to reflect that in our organisations by delivering our messages with honesty, openness and realism. Only in that way can we build lasting trust and defeat communications cynicism.
 
Unlike those who lit the fire, we can only do this if we don’t run away from the challenge ahead of us. To keep with the historical leader theme, perhaps our rallying cry should be, to paraphrase the words of Churchill, “Keep giving us the tools and we will finish the job!”
 

Andy Holt, Director of IoIC North

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