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Rebecca Marks is an expert in communication, engagement, coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and received an IoIC Fellowship in 2020. In this Q&A, she explains the value of communication in ‘holding the world together’ and the shifts in comms that will affect the work we do.  

What does it mean to you to be an IoIC Fellow?
I’m delighted to have this recognition for the contribution I’ve made. I see it as a rubber stamp that I know what I’m doing, have the experience and have given something back – in my case, in the form of mentoring, training and ongoing personal development of the next generation of communication leaders. 
The application process made me look back on my career and reflect all the things I’ve done. 
Comms can be a lonely life, particularly working in-house or, as I do now, as a consultant, so it’s nice to be part of the wider IoIC community with people who know your subject matter and understand the same challenges you’re facing.
What do you find rewarding about internal communication?
Communication is the glue that holds the world together. I’ve recently delivered IC training with project team members across various industries – looking at how to communicate as an organisation, how to improve client communication, etc. The thing they found most interesting was personal communication – taking time to really listen to what someone’s trying to tell you, understanding different communication styles and learning how to “read the room” – picking up on the unspoken cues. 
One of my delegates said that she’d used the techniques at home and was amazed at what a difference it had made to her relationship.
Whether at a macro level in organisations or a micro level in your personal life, comms can lead to better outcomes and a better life. 
What has been your biggest achievement working in internal comms?
The one that jumps out is from after the 2008 financial crash, when I went in-house for the first time at a global technology company after 10 years agency-side. 
The organisation was restructuring from regional to global, introducing matrixed teams across geographies aligned to product and solutions sets. This was the right business decision, but it meant a big impact on people – reporting lines changed almost overnight and there was no infrastructure to support the change from a communication perspective. I had to build everything out from scratch with no budget – of course!
I still feel a massive amount of pride looking back. I left the organisation set up with a comms structure and a story that people could buy into and follow. 
Where do you see internal comms heading in the future? 
Many organisations still structured in a traditional way – IC does this, HR does this, IT does this, etc. – all in boxes. 
But the world doesn’t work like that anymore – organisations need to be much more fluid and dynamic. 
There is a bigger commercial imperative on IC – lots of conversations I’m having with senior clients aren’t about comms, but about organisational strategy. 
Covid-19 in particular has brought the value we add into sharp focus, giving IC a unique opportunity to prove our value as a commercial business partner.
One of the biggest shifts in comms, of course, is technology. Internal communication now works so closely with IT – there is a blurring of boundaries of the two functions, with IC aligning with – and ideally influencing – the technology roadmap. 
And this leads onto a bigger question as we emerge into whatever the next normal looks like: what is the future of the workplace? I’m currently working with several clients on addressing this question. How do we ensure an equitable employee experience regardless of where the workforce is located? Humans are social beings and crave connection. How do we build organic and informal comms moments into new ways of working? What is the role of the office itself and how does this shape the future of IC? It’s going to be a fascinating few months.

'Whether at a macro level in organisations or a micro level in your personal life, comms can lead to better outcomes and a better life.'

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