INTERNAL COMMS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN JUST WALK INTO, IT’S A DISCIPLINE WHERE YOU NEED TO KNOW THEORY AND HAVE EXPERIENCE.
Sorry, I just get so pissed off with the number of people who keep telling me that ‘x would be good in Internal Comms’ or ‘maybe my cousin could get a job in Internal Comms’ and when I ask what comms experience they have, they reply ‘oh, none, but they are a great writer’.
Now, this is fine with an entry-level role – after all, everyone has to start somewhere. But when it comes to managing Internal Comms, that’s when I start twitching.
I’m leaving my current job. They aren’t backfilling the post. I’ve had numerous comments on how the Marketing Manager could just do my role, or one of the senior managers of our division. And I keep answering ‘ they aren’t trained in Internal Comms, they won’t be able to do the job well enough’. Marketing, PR and IC are all inter-linked. But they are all quite different. And that’s because they either want to achieve different things or because their audiences have different motivations.
PR is all about awareness – subtle advertising, essentially. They want a name to stick in people’s heads and for people to have a positive association with that name. Marketing is about selling to people who can choose between vendors, so making your mark in a unique way. Internal Comms is about getting people who, though paid, don’t really like working, to be happy in their work on a daily basis.
They use similar skills and vehicles, and yes, writing is a key skill that people need, but unless they have explored the psychology of IC, how language can trip people up and turn people off, then they just won’t be very good at it. Much like if you don’t learn how to write a good press release or do a good telephone pitch in PR – you won’t get very far.
There’s a whole host of training, learning after mistakes, pinching other people’s ideas and general knowledge that goes into this job, that other people don’t have and it’s foolish to suggest that because they also work in Communications, they could do it. And this happens so much more with Internal Comms than any other practice, because IC is so new and therefore not entrenched so people don’t understand it. No one would suggest I become Marketing Manager – I don’t have the skills. So why would you want to give her my role? Are you suggesting that we could all just swap and I could go be Head of Events for a bit? No, because it’s different skills sets and hey, that key word, experience.
And oh my god, if more people in IC aren’t trained properly, I’m going to bust something. It’s a discipline, you need to know what you are talking about before you can do it and influence several thousand staff members!
So not to be all la-di-da about it, but bitch – just because you can read and write, doesn’t mean you can do my job.