Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! This is the time of year when we are traditionally inundated with advice to make New Year’s resolutions to change things AND with advice not to make resolutions as they only set us up to fail. So I’m not going to advise a resolution to change your communication approach in your organisation, I’m just going to set out an idea for writing your communications that I think will make your organisation more successful this year; then you can decide whether it’s worth taking the plunge and making the change.
Obviously, since I am a communications specialist, I believe in the power of communication to transform an organisation, aligning your people with a shared vision and goal and empowering everyone to play their part. If your organisational goals for this year are to support more patients and families or to share your expert knowledge with a wider audience, then improving the way that you communicate with your people internally is only going to support those ambitions. When your people feel motivated and engaged to do their best, they will raise more funds to pay for extra beds, they will ensure that patients’ care plans are more aligned with their wishes and they will feel proud to share their expertise with each other and the rest of the world.
In my experience, internal communications such as newsletter articles, emails and intranet stories are often missing the ‘so what’ factor. So whilst an update on the fundraising total for this month or the latest student marketing campaign might be of some interest to some of your teams, if you don’t tell them how this extra money will be spent or how the marketing activity will attract more students to enrol, reading the update could leave your staff thinking ‘and…..?’ If they’re left feeling the time it took to read the newsletter could have been better spent in other ways, they won’t bother reading it next time.
So when you are putting something together, make sure that you are always asking yourself ‘so what?’ and adding ‘in order to…[do something]’. This will instantly make your communication more powerful. For example, instead of saying ‘Last month we raised £3,400 – well done, team’ say ‘Last month we raised £3,400 which is a significant contribution to the refurbishing of the family room that our patients’ families say will make them much more comfortable during this difficult time. Well done, team’. Suddenly your teams can see why they were asked to contribute patient stories to the fundraising drive and why it makes a difference to the people they look after each day.
Once you have started to think in this way, it is surprisingly easy to add this layer of purpose to anything you put together and it can really make a difference to the impact you achieve. Try it and see how you get on. I’d love to hear how it goes.
If you’d like help adding this element to your internal communication in 2016, please get in touch.
Until next time