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How to write internal communication texts

Every company has its own unique character and specificity and thus is difficult to compare to other organizations, but still there are some elements which are common to all organizations, regardless of their culture. Typical organizational behaviours, standard processes, regular life cycle of organizations, universal cognitive and decision-making processes. All this shapes a core of corporate internal communication activities. One of its basic elements are company announcements and other internal messages. Recently, I have worked on a brief summary of my professional experiences from several different organizations. Of course, each of them has its own specificity and it is difficult to compare them 1: 1, but some things turned out to be always there, regardless of the organizational culture. Writing is one of these elements and at the same time a huge part of all internal communication jobs.

 

First of all, writing

Anyone who thinks that working in internal communication is primarily about meetings, unofficial conversations on a cigarette and keeping a hand on the pulse of hallway rumors is wrong. For the most part of the day internal communicators work on their texts and collect information necessary to prepare them. Writing is a basic skill and a fundamental task of IC professional – today, when digital channels dominated communication, e-mail messages, e-newsletters, and social media are the main sources of information, creating content for company communication channels is one of the main tasks of internal communication.

Of course, building relationships is no less important, and in the end it is in this way that we collect the most important, official and informal information necessary for our work; we feel the company’s pulse and recognize moods. However, comparing direct interactions and creation of texts and other materials, such as video or infographics, the latter is definitely more time-consuming and constitutes the lion’s share of my working day.

 

Every detail matters

Writing for internal communication, although like in many other professions uses of the language, from my perspective is significantly different from the work of a journalist or PR pro, for example. In the case of information communicated to employees, every little detail counts a lot, weather it is writing “customer” with a capital or small letter, the order of mentioning the names of employees in the text, the font color or the width of the margins –it is all important.

Employees are usually emotionally involved in the information they receive and have a strong sense of subjectivity towards it. They verify and evaluate smallest details and provide IC specialist with and immediate feedback in the event of lapses, inaccuracies or just unexpected aesthetic impressions. Even if the inaccuracy is rather a questionable issue, two minutes after the text publication, the internal communicator will be informed about it. Based on many years of professional work and cooperation with internal communication specialists, I can defined five basic principles for the preparation of internal communication texts:

  • Pedantic attention to every detail – text formatting, graphics, punctuation, spelling – everything
  • Multiple checks of the text: each number, name and surname, abbreviation, date etc.
  • Distance to your own text, patience for its multiple modifications and changes, resulting from many, often contradictory, comments
  • One pair of eyes is not enough – one additional proof reader is a must, you need somebody who will look at the text with a fresh eye and read it with due attention
  • A healthy heart and resistance to stress, especially when clicking the “send” button, sending information to several thousand peopleJ

 

The political sense needed

Internal announcements are usually a result of a compromise between the sender’s goals (in most cases the company’s management), the expectations of the recipients (employees or their group) and internal communication goals and best practices. The person responsible for communication in the company presents a proposal of action plan along with the specific messages, and then, through a multi-stage acceptance process, after numerous changes, a final version of the text is ready for publication.

Proficiency in creating corporate texts and knowledge of the company’s specificity are not everything. Often the secret of success in the area of ​​internal communication lies in the ability to recognize and take into account informal company rules – “the way we do things here”. Knowing office politics rules in your organization is necessary for internal communicator, but this is a topic for a completely different entry.

 


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