The 3 biggest internal communications mistakes... and how to fix them

Did you know that the average open rate for CEO emails to employees is less than 60 percent? Marketing emails fare even worse, with less than 25 percent likely to be read, let alone acted on. 

If the big boss and glossy HTML emails can’t get through, how are we supposed to reach increasingly time and attention-poor audiences?

It is possible, and often some simple changes can make a huge difference. 

Here are the three most common mistakes we see in internal communications, and how to address them.

1. Failure to target

Have you ever lived in an apartment and received a flyer in your mailbox for tree pruning?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having someone try to engage you with a completely irrelevant message when you already have so many demands on your attention; and yet it’s something businesses do to their people every day.

The HR team is bombarded with sales updates, the sales team is getting hourly reports on the IT outage at head office. 

Failure to speak to the right audience, at the right time, in the right way is creating a pandemic of disengagement. 

On the other hand, considering your audience and what they really need to know (as opposed to what you really want to say) demonstrates empathy and builds trust with your audiences, increasing the likelihood that they will want to hear from you in the future. Less really is more. 

2. Change the channel

Like targeting, understanding how your audience likes to be communicated with, and selecting the most appropriate channel for the message, will increase their trust in you. 

There will be occasions where email is the right, or only channel. This is often the case in risk and regulatory matters where evidence needs to be provided that a message has been distributed to a particular group. 

But it’s an increasingly ineffective way to reach overloaded audiences. Digital channels such as social networks and video are often far better at raising awareness and driving change. And the power of face-to-face communication is yet to be beaten.

3. Really really really long comms

Everyone is busy. Science shows that attention spans are shrinking. People bore easily.

While your communication may be the most important thing in your world today, chances are it’s one of scores of messages your audience is receiving. 

Keep your messaging short and keep it interesting, avoiding corporate jargon and lengthy back-stories. Get to the point quickly and engage your audience with active language that’s about them, not you.

Is that it? 

There are so many more quick and easy fixes for common mistakes in corporate communication. But we know you’re busy, and we don’t want to bore you. So keep an eye out for Part Two, and let us know in the comments section which comms mistakes really bug you!

And in the meantime, if you’d like to talk to us about how you can improve your organization’s communication outcomes, please get in touch. We love hearing from you.