At yesterday’s PR Academy summer drinks, CIPR president elect Stephen Waddington took to the stage to talk about social, digital and all things comms.

Unsurprisingly the debate about whether PR and Internal Comms are the same thing came up again. This debate has been running for a long time and as the lines between the two continue to blur it is no surprise it is a question that is being asked more at the moment.

Editorial management, listening and stakeholder understanding are all things that give PR a USP, according to the discussions last night. And I would have to say that I think is exactly what internal comms is about as well.

Our biggest issue with this debate is that the role of internal communications is so varied across industries and countries that it is impossible to compare the two. PR has a much longer history and therefore has evolved further… Until we can operate to the same level across more companies we will never be able to confirm or deny if it is the same.

Should it be more joined up? Absolutely! More so now than ever before. As social becomes more embedded in our culture people publicly talk about their company and what is happening, they are more informed and informed quicker than ever before. Just last week colleagues, including me, found out about a big change in senior leadership through the press! So let’s be more joined up but let’s also respect each others disciplines.

The essence of what we do is the same and the skills required to do the jobs are also very similar. But I am here to take everyone on the same journey. To make sure that people understand why we do what we do and help them be part of it.

I have always believed we communicate to inform and/or to change behaviour and this probably is the same for PR. I don’t think one is more important than the other but the subtle differences in audience needs and business objectives has to be respected on both sides… Internal Comms should not be the poor relation to PR nor should it be seen as not as important… All stakeholders require our attention, and those working to put money in the till and drive growth deserve the same, if not more attention than those people you want to sell too.