The Importance of Internal & External Communication

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Imagine a work environment where you had no guidance on how to communicate effectively with your colleagues and no policies on what to say to the outside world. It doesn’t seem like that business would be very successful, does it? The way an organization communicates with those within it and those outside of it is integral to its success. Communication policies and guidelines help employees share information to do their jobs effectively and support the organization’s image externally.

Role of Internal Communications

Internal communication happens when a business shares information within itself to its staff. Companies can internally communicate in writing through emails and memos or verbally at meetings and conferences. The main purpose of internal communication is to identify and share company goals. It’s vital for employees to know what they are working toward. Goals can be company-wide, departmental or individual. Regardless, knowing what their purpose is at work helps employees to stay on track.

Creating a better work environment is another reason why internal communication is so important. By communicating within the company about organizational changes, sales numbers and human resources issues, businesses can create transparent and effective work environments where employees thrive. This helps to reduce turnover rates, attract new talent and increase employee satisfaction. Businesses can also stop company rumors before they start by ensuring they communicate openly and routinely with their employees.

Internal communication helps businesses to stay on brand and keep control of the message. By having a strong brand promise that is communicated internally, employees have a better handle on talking with customers and other external parties. With communication that leads to clear goals and well-trained staff, businesses have a better chance of ensuring that customer interactions are positive.

Purpose of External Communications

External communication happens when a business exchanges information with customers, prospects, partners, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders outside of the company. It’s integral that the organization implement polices that guide employees on what kind of information to share outside the company, who to share it with and how to share it.

Having guidelines on what kind of information to share with which party is important so that certain information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands or create problems for the company. For example, if a company is developing a new product that will revolutionize the market, it’s critical not to share specific details of that product with competitors before its release. However, the company may want to tell their valued customers, investors and partners about the product before anyone else.

Controlling negative information about the company is one of the reasons effective external communication is so important. By having a strategy in place, organizations can reach out to external stakeholders and discuss the issues at hand. If a company is dealing with a PR disaster, for example, having a plan to speak with the media and customers is an important part of handling the situation.

Ensuring a Unified Message Internally and Externally

For a business to be successful, internal and external communication needs to work together to meet the goals of the company. For example, if the company shares conflicting information with its employees and its investors, they may have to deal with several unhappy and unmotivated stakeholders, which could lead to bigger issues.

Businesses need to look at both the internal and external audiences together to have a unified communication policy. For example, if a company is developing a brand message, it’s essential to create talking points for both internal and external use together. That way, the company can develop messaging that appeals to their employees and motivates them to do their jobs, in addition to information that entices their customers and partners. If that messaging was developed separately, there might be conflicting ideas or different terms that are confusing both internally and externally.

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About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.