The Bridge Between Internal and External Communication

By Katlin Walters
June 12, 2019
6 min read

Communication within and outside of an organization is crucial for its success. Referred to as internal and external communication, they are vital resources for company growth. The difference between the two forms of communication is the environment in which they happen.

Internal communication is an exchange of ideas and information within the organization. External communication is the exchange of information that happens outside the organization. For corporate communication to be effective, there must be a bridge and alignment between external and internal communications practices.

First, effective corporate communication must adhere to certain principles;

  • Efficiency in promptness: Most of the information exchanged or shared is time sensitive
  • Validity: The information presented should be truthful and based on facts
  • Reliability: Correspondence should be maintained at a constant level
  • Confidentiality: This refers to the nondisclosure element of the contents within the information
  • Clarity: The message delivered should be clearly and precisely pointed out

For an organization to be successful, there must be effective communication. Conveyed messages enable better planning, order, and enable the business control of various elements.

Why communication is important

Communications is key to your business strategy.

1. It informs employees about their roles and responsibilities

Whenever team members are aware of what their role entails, and the importance of said roles, they have more encouragement to complete their tasks. When not clearly defined, team members are likely to miss targets since they have not been made aware of what they are expected to do.

Feedback is also invaluable as it gives employees more understanding of their levels of performance. It enables them to improve their skills and strengths while addressing their possible weaknesses. It is also important to allow feedback from customers and partners.

2. It can persuade partners and clients

Whether you are booking a consultation or finalizing a sale, persuasion is a crucial aspect. Information on a persuasive element tends to have an emotional notation which aids how the correspondents relate to the organization. This type of communication has to show credibility and illustrate how it can solve the correspondents’ current problem.

3. It helps create bonds

How your business communicates says a lot about the culture. The culture established in an organization will have an essential role in the relationships created both internally and externally. When people build bonds with colleagues, the resulting camaraderie and team spirit will most likely improve the effectiveness of how they perform tasks.

Let’s look at the dynamics of internal and external communications and how they work together to support the organization.

Internal Communication

Having the most progressive vision for the development of your business will not be effective if it is not made known to every one of your employees. It is, therefore, important to pay attention to your organization’s internal communication.

Internal communication is important for a variety of different reasons:

1. It aligns different departments

Internal communication allows transparency across the various departments bringing about harmony in functionality. A company cannot be successful if its departments are not working uniformly to attain an objective.

2. It improves HR practices

Internal communication works to bring about further unison between employees and their organization. Failure to communicate to your employees that you value their well-being and feedback will result in an ineffective human resource department. Employee-friendly policies will never meet their desired effects if there are no tools in place to educate your employees about the benefits of said policies.

3. It can be a tool for problem-solving

The advancements made in communication technology have made it possible to engage larger numbers of employees in your organization in solving problems.

External Communication

Internal communication involves the upward, downward, horizontal, and diagonal exchange of information within a company, but external communication deals with the transfer of information outside the organization.

External communication aims to communicate with the outer world. Its focus is centered on spreading the news about the organization to the public. Most often the main goal of external communication is to increase the organization’s revenue. It aims to market the organization and its products to potential customers.

1. It makes your products known

External communication is an important way of marketing your products to potential customers. Without proper external communication, the public won’t know the solutions your products offer. How can product X make their lives better? You need external communication to tell them.

2. Enables corporations to reach new customers

Modern technology has redefined external communication; today, the internet is one of the most valuable resources in attaining new customers. Websites and social media sites make it easy for a company to target and reach their desired demographic.

The Connection Between Internal and External Communications

While the two forms of communication are different, they learn and borrow from each other. For them to be effective, they both make use of impactful storytelling, strategy development, and dependable metrics.

For a company’s success, internal and external communicators have to work together; organizations should analyze their internal and external communication policies to make them as complimentary as possible. Developing messaging that motivates employees to meet their set targets while uniformly enticing partners and customers ensure effective communication.

If that messaging was developed separately for both internal and external communication, then conflicts will arise. Internal and external communicators should both collaborate to paint a uniform overall picture for the organization.

It is important to consider the following;

  • Organizations are no longer in sole control of the message -Social media has made it possible for anyone to share their views. This has made everyone a possible communicator; customers as well as employees.
  • Internal and external communicators have to align -The different methods of delivery have made it difficult for both these forms of communications to be made uniform, but it can still be done, and it is important that your communication paint a unified front. The line between internal and external communication is continuously being blurred; there will be a need from time to time to tailor the emphasis, tone, or vocabulary of a particular message depending on the intended audience.
  • Compelling storytelling is vital -The available alternatives to information sources have led to an emphasis on storytelling. Today, fiction is more effective at persuasion than facts and evidence. Both inside and outside communication must tap into the power of storytelling to yield results.
  • Collaboration- There has to be a continuous dialog between all communication functions to ensure you get the right message out and at the right time.

Corporate communication is always changing. The blurred lines present challenges as well as opportunities that, to be tackled successfully, need the alignment and collaboration of internal and external communicators to ensure all intended audiences engage with uninformed and compelling messages.

Bring your communications to one single source of truth. Providing a thriving workplace for your employees through effective internal communication and access to external communication is an essential foundation.

To find out if your internal and external communications mandates are in place, take our complimentary internal communications assessment, and get a detailed report in 5 minutes. Once you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, feel free to book a FREE DEMO call with our experts and discuss ways to improve.

By Katlin Walters

Katlin is a former IC team member.