Is internal communication for you?
If you’ve reached this page, you’re probably interested in a career in internal communication but you may not be sure exactly what it entails. Exploring this website will give you a good idea of the scope of internal communication and the range of possible responsibilities.
The right combination of skills and knowledge will vary, dependent on the sector, specific role requirements and whether particular specialist or management capabilities are required.
However certain core characteristics and behaviours will stand you in good stead in an internal communication career, and help you to perform well whatever the circumstances.
Strong written and verbal communication skills
The ability to write well will always be important (and may be the main element of some jobs). Verbal communication skills will be important to get your point across, influence and persuade. You may not be ‘managing’ people but you may need the ability to take a number of your colleagues with you in relation to seeing projects and changes of approach through successfully.
Ability to work under pressure
You are likely to be juggling a number of activities, which could range from the strategic to the very hands-on/practical. You would commonly be working on large-scale projects and campaigns where delivery of a variety of outputs to deadlines, while maintaining standards of quality and creativity, would be important.
If you’re not really interested in how colleagues are feeling, or in typical human responses to particular situations, and find it difficult to pick up on verbal and non-verbal signals, then internal communication won’t be the ideal career for you. The ability to empathise is important when considering what communication methods will be most appropriate. You may find yourself having to dissuade managers and senior leaders from a particular approach because you know it will not send the right message to employees.
Being a trusted adviser has become an increasingly important part of the internal communicator’s role, and even more so as you move up the career ladder. This means advising leaders on the best overall internal communication approach for the organisation, and also being as effective as possible in their own leadership communication.
To inspire trust and respect, you need to both have strong internal communication skills and an appreciation and understanding of the broader business context; that is, the organisation’s key business objectives and challenges and how internal communication activities need to support these.
Having a strong creative streak is useful when coming up with ideas for campaigns, launches and new or revised communication tools, such as magazines.
Planning and control
It’s great to have good ideas and be an excellent communicator, but you also need to be able to plan and implement methodically, measure results and exercise financial control where required.