One would guess that PR professionals should be wizards at internal communications.
But, in my 14+ years as a public relations executive, I’ve unfortunately found the truth is quite the opposite.
The good news is there’s hope!
As in all things, the first step is admitting that you may not be great at communicating with colleagues and employees.
And honestly, we all can use help communicating with those who matter most—our team members.
Without effective communications, we create un-creative, unhappy, non-productive work environments.
Between mobile technology and the Internet, there are a ton of tools that we can use to communicate with our teams.
Additionally, there are very specific ways we can motivate team members to fire them up in positive ways.
Here are a few tips new PR professionals, and even new agency owners, can use that have worked time and again with my team.
Internal Communications Tools
1. Mobile phones: It may sound obvious, but be sure to save every team member’s cell phone and office numbers from the moment they are hired or the first day you start.
I’ll never forget the day we ran a red carpet event for the launch of Saige Walker’s Velvet Prozak. There were six of us bouncing between the office, the venue, and all over town.
Without multiple phone calls and texts to check in and confirm details, that event would have been a mess!
Having everyone readily available on speed dial and group text was key to pulling off an awesome event.
2. Email: The power of a clear email that helps everyone understand daily goals and/or tasks can really help keep people on track.
I send “fire up” emails every day.
These daily reminders help my team members stay on top of what they owe our clients or me.
Just last week, our new account coordinator started sending me her fire ups before mine went out, so she was able to demonstrate to me that she was clear on what had to be done.
I love when any team member does that. It keeps us all accountable.
3) Social media: Connect with your team about fun things—not just work. We do this on a daily basis.
I love Sylvester Stallone (don’t ask why) and, just recently, had my dream come true when I finally met him.
Of course, I posted pictures and videos on every social platform possible.
My entire team went nuts. It was great to see their reactions and for all of us to share the moment.
Social connections create strong bonds and remind us that we’re all human.
More importantly, social love makes team members feel like you care about them as people outside of work.
Tactics for Better Internal Communications
1. Use your indoor voice. No one likes being yelled at.
We didn’t like it as children so why would we like it now?
When I have to deliver bad news or constructive criticism I always use poise and self-control.
About a month ago, after two of my team members spent an entire day approaching a tip sheet “their” way instead of following our protocols, I had to tell them that the work was not usable.
I used a stern tone and let them know that the work was unacceptable and would need to be redone. Period.
They understood, fixed their mistakes, and the final tip sheet was gorgeous.
2. Get to the point. When giving directions or asking questions, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s time is precious.
So get to the point.
I had to learn this one the hard way. And needless to say, when your client tells you your emails and calls are too long, you listen.
(Yes. It happens!)
3. Flattery gets you everywhere. Firing your team up and sharing their wins boosts the morale in your office.
I pump my team up every chance I get—it’s the cheerleader in me. But when my team’s work is less than stellar, I try to start with what was done right.
After all, we are all here to learn.
I’ve found that sharing compliments before bad news can help keep employee’s confidence in tact so they continue to improve.
These are just a few powerful tools that have improved internal communications for my team.
What are your favorite communication tools and tactics?
Image Credit: Libby Levi via Flickr Creative Commons