You’re all in a room (a Teams room counts!) with your key leaders. Cats have been herded. You have their (mostly) undivided attention. They’re ready to talk communications best practices.
After the obligatory introduction, including why you’ve gathered everyone together and why a strong focus on communications important, you get to the good stuff: Critical leadership actions and attitudes that impact the employee experience in a meaningful way.
Your role as the mediator is significant. The goal is to help them understand what the best practices mean and how they can be applied to the group. That’s the magic.
Item by item, things will dawn on them, connections will be made, and you’ll be able to paint the picture of effective communication. While the group is talking through the best practices, take notes on the things you notice that are not covered on your list – business opportunities and challenges, specific dynamics impacting the group like employee turnover, M&A, stale bagels in the break room, etc., and the leaders' commitment to communicate with their teams.
Gaining buy-in on what "good" looks like at your organization and identifying the nuances within the group will give you critical context as you move on to the final part of the conversation: developing recommendations for improvement.
Building targeted action plans is meant to be a collaborative effort – not a one-way exchange. Ask for guidance on what they see as the biggest opportunities and what they can reasonably accomplish.
The trust built from this conversation will lead to credibility and confidence in Internal Communications as a way to impact the areas the business cares about most.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Plan to do this over and over again. You'll get better every time.
Keep a master data sheet for a quick view of key findings, your recommendations, all existing action plans and progress.
Track the key themes that arise and develop plans around them for maximum impact.
Be open, honest and empathetic. You’re likely going to learn about areas that need substantial improvement. Some leaders are working through business or operational challenges, and the last thing they want to do is talk about communications. This discussion can turn into a therapy session, and you have the power to maintain the balance and stay on track.