At face value, internal communication is communication within an organisation. It includes both "official" communication (think policies and procedures etc.) and the unofficial communication that goes on among and between the staff members of all organisations (think water cooler exchanges etc.)

It operates 360O from line staff (those who do the specific work of the organisation and work directly with the target population), to administrators, supervisors, clerical and support staff, and perhaps also the Board of Directors.

Internal communication is much more than people talking to one another, however. It is the life blood of any organisation. Good internal communication will:

  • Provide people the information they need to do their jobs effectively
  • Make sure they know about anything that concerns them
  • Provide people with clear standards and expectations for their work
  • Give people feedback on their own performance
  • Provide them emotional support for difficult work
  • Suggest new ideas about both their work and their lives
  • Allow them to take the pulse of the organisation and understand its overall situation
  • Help them maintain a shared vision and a sense of ownership in the organisation
Internal communication is the glue that holds an organisation together.

Without it, you're just a collection of disconnected individuals each working individually at her own job. With it, you're a unit with power far beyond the sum of your parts.

Communication is one of the most important facets of managing what you do. Here are the top ten things that internal communication can do for you:

  1. It can increase the effectiveness of the organisation. The better the connections team members have with others in the organisation, the better the work individuals do – to the benefit of the organisation. The better jobs they do, the better they feel about their jobs and about the organisation. The ultimate beneficiaries of all this are the target population, the community, and the organisation, which finds itself with committed and efficient staff members, satisfied participants, and community respect.
  2. It keeps everyone informed of what's going on in the organisation. No one gets any unpleasant surprises, and everyone has the chance to deal with changes, good news, and bad news together.
  3. It allows the organisation to respond quickly and efficiently to change, emergencies, etc.
  4. It makes problem-solving easier by providing a channel for everyone's ideas and opinions. Solutions can come from unexpected directions, but only if there's the possibility that they'll be heard.
  5. It creates a climate of openness within the organisation. If everyone feels he has access to whatever information he needs or wants, and can talk to anyone in the organisation about anything, it encourages good relations among people, promotes trust, and forestalls jealousy and turf issues.
  6. It gives people more of a sense of ownership of the organisation, and more of a feeling that everyone is working together toward the same goal. The combination of openness and the easy flow of communication to everyone combine to make people feel like part of a coherent whole, and to feel that their ideas and opinions are listened to and valued.
  7. It promotes fairness and equity within the organisation. If everyone has equal access to information and to everyone else, it's harder for anyone to feel that she's particularly privileged, or that she's being left out of the loop. It ultimately should lead to everyone feeling she's part of a team of equals, all of whom are treated similarly.
  8. It shows respect for everyone in the organisation, by assuming that everyone's ideas and information are valuable.
  9. It gets problems and potential problems out in the open, rather than letting them fester and turn into something far harder to deal with. You can't deal with a problem if you don't know it's there; exposing it is the first -- and often the hardest -- step toward resolving it.
  10. It forestalls the spread of rumours by making sure that accurate information is constantly being communicated to everyone.

Watch my Facebook page for a visual presentation of this data. For a comprehensive How To guide on Improving Your Internal Communication, sign up for my newsletter HERE. We will be publishing the guide early next week.

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