Professional development is so important, especially for Internal Communicators.
The State of the Sector and State of the Profession reports both allude to the fact that there is a lack of skills within Internal Communications teams and there is a real need for professional development for communicators. Luckily there is an increasing number of experts, training centres and professional bodies, all looking for eager communicators to develop and invest in. One of these people is Rachel Miller from All Things IC.
As you may know, Rachel has influenced and inspired my professional development and the creation of Comma Comms.
I was lucky enough to bag a place on her Internal Communications Masterclass recently, and I thought I would share my thoughts about the day and the lessons and ideas that are buzzing around my head as a result.
What is the Masterclass about?
The Masterclass is designed to boost or refresh your knowledge and passion for internal communication. The session covers a variety of theories, examples and planning. As Rachel explains, you will leave with practical skills and confidence to;
- Understand the role of internal communication
- Know what the different communication channels are and how to choose
- Combine theory with practice
- Know the latest trends
- Understand planning, strategy and stakeholders
- Know what’s working and how to make the most of what you have (measurement).
Who is the Masterclass for?
The session is aimed at people with all kinds of experience, and is open to professionals who want to learn more, immerse themselves in IC, and want to meet like-minded people. I met people from UNICEF, Heineken, and Sodexo, some of whom actually flew in from abroad especially for the Masterclass.
That is the beauty of attending a session like this – you meet people from different backgrounds and businesses, and whilst you soon realise you are all experiencing the same challenges and successes, it puts things in a different context and you can see Internal Comms through different lenses.
What did we do and discuss?
The first rule of an IC Masterclass is to agree to a confidential space, where everyone can talk freely and learn from each other. So I won’t be able to divulge specifics, but I think it’s important to share the themes and general discussions we had. Broken up by coffee breaks, sugar fixes and a lovely lunch, we had a full 6 hours of discussion, problem solving, and learning.
The day started off with each of us talking about why we were there, and the things we wanted to get out of the day. We created a list of topics, including; relationships with IT and HR, creativity in communications, employee feedback and voice, and communicating with lone workers.
Rachel then took us through the history of internal communications and looked at the principles and theories of the profession. She gave us practical examples and real-world experiences to help put the theories into practice. She covered a large variety of tips, tools and trends in internal communications, including;
- Communication Channels
- Leadership Comms
- Relationships and stakeholders
- Professional development
- Change and crisis communications
- Employee engagement
Top 3 take-aways from the Session
Rachel gave us some good advice through some handy quick quotes, that I’ve already started using with my team;
It’s our business to know our business
It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear
What do you want people to do/say/think/feel?
#2 Books and Key people
Rachel gives out postcards throughout the session for you to write down some key actions/lessons. I had five cards full of names and book recommendations, including;
- Melcrum – Engage for Success
- The Internal Comms Podcast by AB
- Hello World – How to be human in the age of the machine
- Internal Communications: A Manual for Practitioners
- Exploring Internal Communications by Kevin Ruck
- The CEO: Chief Engagement Officer by John Smythe
#3 Choosing the right channels
A whole section of the day focusses on communication channels. Rachel made a good point of saying, ‘If you introduce a nice, new, shiny channel, you need to retire an old one.’ This is an obvious statement, but it’s something that we need to get better at. There is no point having a long list of communication channels if they are not engaging people and you don’t know how to use them all.
As you can tell, I highly recommend attending one of Rachel’s workshops. You come away full of knowledge, ideas, and a new sense of confidence in your abilities. You also leave with an amazing goodie bag, workbooks, postcards, and a certificate. The session also contributes to your CPD hours/points with CIPR and IoIC!
If you are interested in signing up and booking onto one of Rachel’s sessions, you can chose from Internal Comms, Strategic Internal Comms, Change Comms, and Masterminds.
Rachel always shares useful tools and tips, so make sure you give her a follow on Twitter and instagram: @AllThingsIC