The art of science and engagement in internal communication

We know that internal communicators are struggling to influence at the top, finding digital adoption hard across organisations and working with limited budgets. Some of the conversation we need to have are increasingly challenging and opinion or experience might not be enough to win your case. Last week, at the CIPR Northern Conference in Newcastle, I hosted a workshop talking about neuroscience and how the world of work might have evolved, but our brains have not.

The basics
Our brains have one core purpose – to survive. To survive they need two key things; to seek out rewards and to avoid threats. The rewards will be things like food and shelter and the threats will be the sabre-tooth tiger coming to kill you. The threat response in our brains is much stronger than rewards so we will always lean to that response – you can survive without food/shelter/water for a while, but you can’t survive the tiger killing you!

Our brains are constantly trying to predict to keep us out of harms way and when it comes to making decisions, 86% of them are based on feelings. This is important to understand because clarification and ambiguity play a big role in how we feel and are often some of our biggest challenges as communicators.

Dealing with ambiguity and the pace of change
We continually try to predict so when we don’t understand something, or we are left in the dark, our threat response is heightened. Our brains cannot deal with the speed and quantity of change we see today. The level of ambiguity that comes with this means we worry and we think about the adverse possibilities – our threat response.

Our reward state is not only triggered by those basic elements, it can also be triggered by information. Research shows that we are more comfortable with information that provides certainty regardless of whether that is good or bad. Think about waiting for test results – the unknown is much worse than when you have the answer.

The generational divide
I’m a big Simon Sinek fan and during the session I referenced both his golden circle TED talk and his interview about millennials. On researching this topic again, I came across articles challenging his thinking on millennials and while I struggle with generational theory (my diploma paper was on Gen Z and their communication styles) his insights can all play back to the basics of neuroscience.

He suggests that parenting, technology, impatience and environment all play a role in why millennials struggle in the workplace:

  • The failed parenting strategies that have devalued reward (last place medal, taking part medal)
  • The use of social media and the release of dopamine that happens when someone ‘likes’ a post alongside the danger of technology replacing meaningful social connections
  • Impatience and the immediacy of today – remember Blockbuster when you use to have to wait for something to come out and then post it back through the door – not anymore. You can get it all immediately from your sofa.
  • The work environment is so numbers focussed that we don’t consider people. We don’t consider relationships and culture over or even in line with the commercial elements of success and this is damaging trust.

When you revisit the key points from this interview they link back to neuroscience and how our brains work. The need for social connections, making time for each other, rewards – they all come through when you consider why millennials are struggling in the workplace today.

Data and ambiguity
We know that the brain doesn’t like ambiguity and since the research in 2017 with CIPR Inside I have talked a lot about alignment between the internal communication function and leadership. So how ambiguous are we as internal communicators? Does everyone have a definition of what internal communication is inside their organisation? Does everyone have a plan or a strategy? Research from Gatehouse tells us that only 50% have a plan and only 33% have a strategy. So, without these basics in place, are we allowing ambiguity to rule and therefore debilitating conversations with leaders?

Social connections and the struggle with digital tools
After The Big Yak I blogged about the main themes and how we are forgetting we are human. Our social brain impacts our ability to think and perform and people need to stay focussed and positive to work at their best. Neuroscience shows people have a strong need for social connections – so strong that without them we are in a state of threat. I don’t believe we think about this at work in terms of the culture or relationships that we encourage, or even in the content strategies that we create – how many are focussed on the operational aspect of the organisation?
We believed that digital tools would solve our problems. And while they solve some, they aren’t working quite how we hoped. Gatehouse data tells us that only 35% have an adoption rate of good or excellent and 86% say use is non-existent, embryonic or limited. We are forgetting that people are at the heart and from experience, I can tell you that the investment in digital tools will be completely wasted if you don’t invest in the people and the relationships/culture.

Remember that communication is conversation. Give people a voice, collaborate on the things that matter (not everything, but that’s another blog post) and take away the threat and ambiguity of business today. I hope you can use some of the points in this post/from the workshop to help you have conversations to make a difference in your organisation.

Resources

These are links to the books that I have read over the last six months that all contributed to the session at the conference:

Neuroscience for organisational change

Busy: How to thrive in a world of busy

Deep work: Rules for focussed success in a distracted world

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Melcrum Summit Day Two: From the Twittersphere

After posting about the content shared from day one, I thought it was only appropriate to do the same for day two.

The topics for this years summit, as you can see above was Competing on the Curver: Re-enginerring internal communications for agility, productivity and impact… And looking at the content the delegates were sharing, I’d say this was achieved.

It looked like the second day was more agency heavy and there more interactive sessions that day one, but there were more models and top line thinking shared.

The theme of internal communicator development, collaboration and using internal comms to support business change were key themes that certainly came through.

Marks and Spencer presented a case study on driving engagement through sustainability and Plan A. This made me wonder, do we need a big business project or change like Plan A to drive engagement and collaboration?

There were several comments around collaboration and social tools, especially comments. The best advice was to know your channel and your audience, set clear boundaries, find your advocates and be bold. A simply approach but when introducing two-way dialogue for the first time a great set of tips.

Being a catalyst

Yesterday I noted some of the great quotes that made their way out of the conference room, and today is no different:

  • We may all be in difference countries and locations but we all have the same challenges. It’s only the solutions that differ depending on your organisation
  • Be a catalyst for the right kind of conversations for leaders and employees
  • We need to shift from opportunists to strategists
  • Provide tools but get people to tell the story and provide the content
  • If you’re 16 or less now then you are a digital native

The future? Developing Internal Communicators

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. The future of internal comms is in our control. Once interesting theme today was around IC professionals development:

  • RBS talked about their Academy which offers comms people a range of business skills and specialized adviser training – a great idea for development.
  • “Internal Comms is a great connector. More than a function, it’s about networking, connecting, partnering across an organisation.”
  • 31% of the room said their IC function doesn’t have the right mix of skills – my question, have we even determined what those skills are?
  • We are going to invest in social media and leadership comms – what does investment in leadership comms look like?
  • T shaped people – have a deep knowledge of one subject and a wider knowledge of other topics too. In my opinion, this is what an internal communicator needs to be.

What was predicted? Leaders who can’t communicate effectively won’t be future leaders…

Leaping over those hurdles again…

There were more barriers discussed today:

  • Lack of clear strategic narrative is a barrier to implement a comms strategy (this is the best hurdle that has been communicated, and the first time I have seen someone articulate what is fundamentally an issue for all internal comms)
  • Budget
  • Resource

Engage for Success – @DrAndyBrown

As content goes, it seems like the Engage presentation gave some great thought provoking content:

If you’re defining collaboration in your organisation there are three steps to follow:

  1. DRIVERS: What are key drivers, barriers and enablers?
  2. COLLABORATION: How can employees collaborate to achieve objectives
  3. HARD ORGANISATIONAL OUTCOMES: What are the strategic objectives

Three things internal comms can do to help an organisation collaborate:

  1. Clear strategy, start with the outcomes
  2. Involve your people, work with relevant stakeholders to deliver the right tools and culture
  3. Work with HR to develop leadership and look to shape the future recruitment strategy

These raised some questions for me… 1 and 2 should be what we do every day.

8 steps of engagement heaven from Oliver Strong, Group Director, IC & Engagement, RSA,

  1. Board level advocacy: sell ideas to leaders using hard data
  2. Hold leaders accountable – leaders /managers need to pull their weight and play part in engagement strategy
  3. Bottle & share best practice – have regular check-ins / idea exchange
  4. Celebrate the best – Top scoring engagement leaders receive a treat
  5. Support low-scoring leaders
  6. Fix big issues
  7. Emotional connection – don’t make people feel like they’re going through process. Make them feel proud of job & comp.
  8. Alignment – High engagement & clear strategy; to link the two RSA put internal & external comms functions together

So after two days and many tweets (for which I am very grateful!) I think there have been some great insights shared and some learnings that all internal comms people can take away. For me, the view on change models, collaboration and team development will provide some great ideas for next year – thanks everyone who shared and the team @melcrum!

Getting started in internal comms? Why not ask a guru?

Yesterday I attended a session hosted by CIPRInside called Ask the Guru. An event aimed at new people in internal comms and providing them a few hours to ask a panel of three gurus anything they liked.

I was very privileged to be one of the gurus, alongside Dana Leeson and Tom Crawford.

We were joined by about 20 communicators, some who had submitted answers before and others than had real challenges in the workplace. In the spirit of sharing, here are a list of the questions we were asked and my answers to them:

Structure

1. How do you define where internal communications sits in relation to other departments? HR or Comms, or other?

This was something we discussed at the event and there were lots of views about whether HR, Marketing or even the CIO was appropriate. We are still at a crossroads in terms of where we sit but the main thing to consider is not necessarily where you sit, it is that you have a voice in the organisation and even better on the board.

Leaders/stakeholders

1. I keep reminding people we need to be open to expect employees to be open with us and trust us. I feel like it’s an up-hill struggle at times. How can I manage this dilemma?

This is often a challenge that stays with us for a long time. We are programmed that knowledge is power and that can often translate into hidden information which leads to a culture that lacks trust and openness. It is a cliché but this has to start from the top. If you’re in a position to, do some research with the employees to find out what they really think and take this to the board to facilitate a discussion about their view on how things are, what the people say and how we bridge the gap.

Small steps is the answer. Don’t try and do open and honest all at once if it just isn’t the way things are but find ways to bring everyone into the conversation. The more they do it in bite sized chunks the more they’ll realise the benefits and that nothing terrible will happen.

2. How do I balance the expectations of the senior leadership with the expectations of the staff?

Expectations are always difficult to manage. Senior leaders expectations can be managed by ensuring there are platforms for dialogue and two-way communication, not just top down push communication.

Once you bridge the gap between the two expectations and the way things are on the front line soon come to the surface and you can then manage how to build the relationships between them.

Senior leaders can expect you to do things that are not in line with what you know the front line wants or expects – be the voice of the people and make sure you coach and advise with their interests in mind.

3. How do I set clear boundaries for internal communications functions without upsetting stakeholders who have a history of ‘managing’ that communication channel? It’s very hard coming into an organisation balancing being efficient, helpful and professional while getting the results you know you can deliver.

Bring them into the fold! If you are coming in to set up the function centrally or start from scratch, identify the people that already do some of the communication and engage them from the off. I recently did something very similar and I worked closely with three or four people in the business who were gatekeepers of information and distributors of packs for teams. We worked together on my research of the business and I talked them through my findings before anyone else. We discussed what the impact wad for them but it was going to help them in the long run and how they were still needed as experts in those teams.

It’s a fine balance and one I think we all get wrong at least once in our careers. Listen to them, engage with them, be aware of their personality and adapt your style to theirs so they know you’re not against them.

Strategy and tactics

1. How do I find out what the company and managers ‘really’ need me to do, rather than what the ask me to do? The objectives rather than the tactics.

If I have understood this right my answer would be time and experience. When I first started I just did what I was told to do with now knowledge of anything different. As I got more experience from other roles, going to conferences and events I learnt what the ‘right’ things to do were.

If people are coming to you and saying ‘I need a poster for this’ it’s all in the questions. Why do they need a poster, what are they actually trying to achieve with the message, who is their audience. If you ask all the right probing questions you’ll be able to decide whether it is a poster they want or whether a post card desk drop is better – for example.

2. How do I juggle the strategy, the tactics, the expectations and execution of all that’s required of me and a very small team?

Good time management! I was a team of one with 10,000 employees and was starting from scratch. 2 years in I managed to get resource in the team and now have someone to support the more tactical side of things. It got to the point where the day job was impossible and when you get there, you have to build a business case as to what you need and why.

If this isn’t possible, learn to say no. Devise your strategy at the right time in the business and set your budget. Align your activity to the business strategy and if anyone asks you to do anything that doesn’t fall within that, you simply cannot do it. Empower people; if you have an intranet, get people to add their own content rather than come through you for certain things, have guest editors on the magazine if you have people with an interest in what you do – use the relationships you have for support and let them be the voices that support your business case for additional support.

Messages

1. “Here’s a piece of copy – pop it on the intranet please….” What? What do I do with a piece of writing that is full of typos, out of touch or worse off message – especially if it’s come from a senior manager?

You edit it. Maintain their voice of the piece if that is appropriate for the channel and the business but you make changes. If possible, go and see them with a printed copy of what you’ve changed and talk them through the reasons why you have done so.

People don’t mind things being changed if there is a reason for it, as long as you’re not doing it for the sake of it or so you add your stamp on it they will be more than happy with your changes.

2. How do I get across the ‘heavy’ HR messages across in a way employees will listen and act upon them?

Depending on what you mean by heavy there are lots you can do. We have policies and we have clear guidelines and rules but these are all designed in line with our branding and whilst firm, maintain a good tone of voice. Putting up a boring word document is a little dull so bring in your brand and colour palettes to bring the documents to life.

If we have messages we have to get people to do, read and sign that they have done we have a Due Diligence system and the notice is number DD201 (for example). This signals to our operators that there is a news item they have to look at and action.

Measurement

1. We use surveys to measure results and opinions. What else can we use?

2. How do I start to measure the ROI of internal communications?

I’m going to answer these together because we had quite a debate around measurement. ROI is often about numbers, how you show internal comms activity has impacted the bottom line. You can’t. Just like a PR team cannot prove what a ‘like’ is worth on facebook or that there is an equivalent advertising spend to the coverage they have got. We get bogged down in numbers that often don’t mean anything.

We can measure how people feel to work for the company, whether they want to go over and above the role for the good of the business and if they have fun and enjoy their work. If they don’t then that will impact the bottom line because they aren’t interested in helping us grow and succeed.

We don’t do employee surveys because we always get things we can’t change – and I mean can’t not won’t. So we do surveys about specific things, and I measure attendance at lunch and learn sessions following a comms campaign, intranet stats (the conversations more than the page views) and I make sure that I’m aligned to the business strategy in all my activity so I’m measured against what the business is trying to achieve.

I have seen people present on how you can really work out and ROI but I think we have to ask whether that is really important. I started with no budget and no team; one year in I secured budget, 2 years in I grew that budget and got someone in the team – if you add value to the business they will recognise it without a spreadsheet.

So if you have any questions let us know using #asktheguru on twitter, comment below and also at the next event in the summer – dates to be confirmed.

 

 

Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Management Summit: Day Two

After a brilliant day one I was holding out a lot of hope for day two and it certainly delivered. With talk on the internal comms role in business, culture, social media and Melcrum research there are lots of highlights to share with you all. My first caveat is that due to work meetings I did miss the last two sessions in the day.

What are we trying to do in internal comms?
One of the big things discussed over both days was the role of internal comms in business – where it sits, how you attribute it to the financial success of the business and where it will be in the future. Victoria Mellor opened day two and highlighted some key points about what we, as internal comms professionals, need to do to move forward:

  • Be better at partnering with other functions in the organisation
  • Be much more confident in what we can achieve and put ourselves out there
  • Link strongly to the strategic focus when building a case for internal comms
  • Be more proactive rather than reactive to stakeholders
  • Be more focussed and prioritised – a theme that Rebecca Richmond emphasised when looking at the research from Melcrum

These are points I hear again and again and I do think we have yet to establish internal comms as a true pillar of the business (like HR, Finance etc.). It is also very clear that how strategic you are to the business, depends on where the business sees internal comms fitting in.

When we talked about the research Melcrum have done around becoming a more strategic partner, they shared these thoughts on where we add value:

  • Raising awareness
  • Creating understanding
  • Joining the dots
  • Identifying and sharing what’s in it for me
  • Getting people on board
  • Being strategic influencers
  • Shaping the employee/business relationship
  • Enabling, facilitating and coaching
  • Challenging the strategy and approach
  • Stakeholder management and relationships
  • We need to decide where we want to play in the business – do we want to be strategic influence, a strategic communicator or a communicator that simply executes? Depending on where you are and where you want to be will determine your level of partnership at the strategic level.

    Audience participation
    Some audience participation throughout the day showed some interesting views from the room:

    • 67% don’t struggle to get face to face time with their CEO
    • 74% don’t have a separate change communication team away from the internal comms team

    Culture
    When we talk about culture it makes some people very tense and some people embrace the way of a business. We learned a lot about Volvo and the challenges they went through when it came to redefining their ‘Volvo way’. Some critical issues identified:

    • Customer first – distinctive strategy for delivering value to targeted customers
    • Organisational fit – culture designed to drive change, innovation and execution
    • Leadership – develop global competencies
    • People alignment – employee engagement and commitment to perform
    • Learning – enhance sharing of best practices, learning and growth

    The speaker asked people what they would find their biggest challenge and the highest response was People Alignment – this shocked the speaker and I have to say, me too. I opted for the organisational fit option as I think engagement will come as you go through such a change – getting it right for the organisation would be a big challenge!

    The research
    Looking at how internal comms can be a more strategic partner was the topic for this research and its proved to be some of the most useful content over the two days – some great tools for us to take away and use!

    One of the models I tweeted about was the 4 box model from Synopsis about how we get where we want to be. This model resonated with me because I know, once I have done a year in this role and been through the business cycle I will need to look at the function again -and this is the model that will help guide that process:

    Synopsis process for reviewing communications function
    Synopsis process for reviewing communications function

    The next tool to be discussed was the “Placemat Plan”. This was a simple principle of having a single sheet, or a placemat, with boxes of content. So from the top:

    • The company vision
    • The business goals
    • The business priorities
    • Reputational priorities
    • Internal comms key objectives
    • Yearly strategic comms priorities

    The idea being that when stakeholders ask you to do something, you can refer them to this and ask them where their request fits into the segments.

    Social media and internal comms
    Still a very big topic for us internal communicators and something I believe will still be a big topic in five years time. Some key thoughts from both the roundtable discussion and the panel debate:

    • Leaders in organisations don’t like it when people use internal social platforms to talk about non-business content
    • Start small – get buy-in and use the groundswell to build on the success
    • When you open the doors people don’t always say what you want to hear – but if you open them you have to listen, and respond
    • Talk about collaboration rather than social media to get buy-in – this works!
    • When you look at engaging remote workers (those not online) you need to create a tool that not only helps them do their job but that fits in with their routine. An example from BT, that is just in the thinking phase at the moment, was around an engineer photographing a piece of kit/issue and uploading it to get a response/how to. This would help him/her get the job done and fit with what is needed
    • You can become a victim of your own efficiency – all that work that was done to get as many jobs/tasks done in a day stopped the chit-chat over a coffee – that chit-chat helped people solve problems and we are now looking to technology to help get it back
    • Culture will dictate social media use in your business – if people can’t access social media sites like Facebook from work, why would they use a social media tool internally?
    • Yammer is a tool that everyone knows and sometimes it works, and sometimes it stays with a few employees who chat on it all day long
    • Sharepoint is like Marmite – you either love it or hate it – my question would be ‘is it the tool for dialogue in a business?’
    • People internally will navigate towards the branded named sites rather than internally built systems – I’m not sure how true this is in all organisations?
    • People are using Facebook to communicate with those employees that don’t have work email/PC’s – not quite sure people are ready to blur the lines between work and personal life just yet though
    • Companies will try more things internally than externally – getting it right from the inside out

    As the panel discussion continued it raised some great points and thoughts. The trivial stuff to leaders is often so important to everyone else – the price of a chocolate bar in a vending machine going up or the coffee brand changing all impact colleagues. You need to let them talk about it and have that discussion, get involved and be part of it.

    Not once, when we talked about reaching those offline colleagues, did anyone mention making an intranet accessible from home or mobile… it’s on my agenda and I wonder why it didn’t come up?

    So that’s all from Day Two and Melcrum’s annual SCM. The two days have really shaped where I’m going to take internal comms forward and I’m looking forward to hearing more about where the industry is going at future events.

    As always, please feel free to share your thoughts…

    Melcrum’s Strategic Communication Management Summit: Day One

    For those that did attend or could not make it – here are some of the highlights from Day One at this years Melcrum SCM. If you want to keep up to speed throughout tomorrow check out #melcrumscm on Twitter!

    Cascade Vs Dialogue
    A main topic for the day – how do you get people talking in your organisation?

    • PricewaterhouseCooper talked about their leadership communities and the conference or forums they have behind closed doors. Their most recent event saw a change and they launched a microsite/blog called ‘One Conversation’ alongside the event – ever the sceptic they anticipated a few hundred subscribers, but in reality they got over 2,500. Proving that many people inside a business, no matter what level, have a thirst for information about who they work for and where the business is going
    • HSBC talked about moving employees from engaged to mobilised – challenging that you can have a very engaged workforce but if they are not mobilised in the right way then they could be doing more harm than good
    • Engagement isn’t good enough anymore. As demonstrated by Involve, you need involvement in the strategy and an emotional connection for it to encourage you to go over and above what you need to do in your job
    • Blurring the lines between internal and external communication – information can be used across both platforms and often external news can be used internally to reinforce the importance of a message

    5 golden rules when preparing managers to lead or facilitate dialogue
    (HSBC)

    • This is a business challenge, not a communications challenge
    • Identify key stakeholders, get them in early and keep them close
    • One size does not fit all (another big theme for the day) especially if this is a global project. Flexibility is essential on content, technology and distribution
    • Focus on the process and culture first. Technology comes later
    • Measurement is critical for effectiveness and credibility.

    Employee Surveys
    This came up early on in the day with PricewaterhouseCooper commenting on doing them twice a year in the Keynote session. Another speaker later mentioned it was every six months and it made me wonder just how often other companies do this? I’m sure it is on the agenda of every internal communicator – or does it sit more with HR?

    This also begged the question about ‘survey fatigue’ and how you avoid that when you constantly seek feedback. Answers from the panel included making sure your audience know you will do something with the feedback and further responses from Twitter were:

    • Restrict your survey to a single question and do it more often (via J0N1)
    • Value return, give a little to get a little (ellisa31)

    How to calculate ROI on employee engagement
    (Pearson Education)

    Now I never profess to be one with numbers, and this was a hard one to get your head around but the overview was quite simple and there were five key points to take away from it:

    1. Establish levels of engagement through a survey
    2. Find out the business KPIs such as sickness, turnover, performance
    3. Look at the correlation between them. In almost all cases you will see a direct link between engagement, performance, sickness absence and employee turnover
    4. Identify upper quartile KPI – the gap is the saving you can make through effective comms
    5. Introduce ‘engagement interventions’: aligning people to the organisation’s vision, reward and recognition, health and wellbeing, recruitment and retention, internal communications, leadership, combined approach strategy.

     CIPD were quoted throughout and apparently have a collection of case studies to support the correlation point.

    Some good thoughts throughout the day…

    • Smiling people is not an effective return for the CEO or MD when it comes to internal comms and ROI
    • Measuring your online system using hits? Suggestion that HITS is actually an acronym for How Idiots Track Success
    • Engaging frontline employees is the hardest part when it comes to change communication
    • Which communication channel engages people in change? Over two-thirds selected leadership (Towers Perrin research)
    • Ask the board how they prefer to communicate and help them use the platform. Some may want to blog, others tweet and some face to face. Use their style with them and find a way to get them talking
    • Getting employees to do video diaries during change can provide a credible way of communicating. At MAERSK people watched their peers go through the curve and made it real for everyone.

    So after a day immersed in internal comms this all made me think about what is really feasible and how you get the walls to fall down…

    • Would the CEO of your business take part in a ‘brown paper bag lunch’ and take notes from what his colleagues talk about? Would they have the time to engage in dialogue and is cascade the easiest answer?
    • Does dialogue still have the same issues as cascade or will it open the door to peer-to-peer communication and therefore encourage a more online approach where appropriate?
    • MAERSK did a fantastic presentation about engaging a workforce during change, but they discount a huge 6,000 employees at sea in their employee figures and the Head of Comms admitted it is a challenge they haven’t yet overcome
    • How much can internal communicators take credit for when it comes to ROI – what about the other functions and how many of us would go into an FD’s office and say “I will save you half a million pounds with effective communication”?

    I welcome your thoughts and comments…

    Day two overview

    Presentation pet peeves

    Inspired by today’s article in the Daily Mail that lists modern phrases often hated by all, I thought fellow communicators could help me list those pet peeves when it comes to presentations. Today I attended an internal event, and whilst I don’t profess to be the best presenter in the world, nor am I saying that today’s presenters were awful, it just made me think about those things we do when we talk to our peers in these forums.

    I welcome all contributions to this list as I’m sure many others have sat through presentations and have come across things they would class as a pet peeve!

    1. The first has to be the people who say “Now you won’t be able to read this slide, but…” I have to ask, why would you put content on a slide you are presenting to people who won’t be able to see if you’re not looking at it on your screen/desk?
    2. The “I won’t go into the detail” – then why are you showing it if you’re not going to talk us through it?
    3. Some presenters also tend to focus all their attention on the most senior colleague in the room – the person who has normally seen/heard the content before. I would think most people would want to have a presentation addressed to the whole audience
    4. Text over pictures – there is a time and a place, grey photo with white text is hard to read
    5. Should everyone present – if some people aren’t great presenters should we make them stand up there anyway? It is something I often debate with colleagues in training teams
    6. Font changes throughout a presentation is also a real pet peeve – surely this is something that everyone can spot?!

    So as conferences begin to take centre stage for internal communicators I have no doubt all these things and more will start to rise to the top of our agendas once more… So what’s on your list?