Overheard in the Hall: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

“I just wish they knew exactly what I’m capable of doing for them.”

These were the wistful words I overheard from a woman in internal comms at the SocialChorus FutureComms event in April.

That gave me pause.

She wasn’t just speaking for herself; she was voicing the frustration of nearly everyone in our profession.

No one knows for sure what we do. Worse, no one truly knows what we’re capable of doing.

They think all we do is set up special events, send out emails, create videos, and make sure the CEO has what he/she needs for the town hall—all of which are true. These are absolutely things that we do.

But we shouldn’t be defined solely by these tactics. If those things are all we’re known for, then there’s a good chance we’ll all be replaced by robots in due time. We ourselves are ultimately responsible for how they see us.

How’s this for a different view of what we do? As internal communicators, we:

  • Listen intently.

  • Observe keenly.

  • Establish relationships with employees all over the company that allow us to learn and offer insights back up to the c-suite.

  • Connect all other functions and what they’re doing with the overall business strategy.

  • Offer counsel and advice that is as important as our counterparts in marketing, HR, legal and finance.

If your leaders have no idea what you’re capable of doing as an internal comms professional, that’s a wide-open invitation for you to reframe the discussion and redefine your value. It’s not their fault they can’t connect the dots between what you do and the incredible business value you contribute. That’s your job!

You may be in communications, but you are also in sales. Don’t be shy about selling what you do, using data to back up your recommendations, and speaking up with your brilliant counsel and advice, even when what you have to say is true but unpopular. Do these then watch how their perception of you changes over time.

You own your role and the way others in your organization see you. Embrace that and become what you already are.