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How to Build a Global Network of Communicators

Internal comms teams are often dispersed around a global company; building a strong network will make them more effective

An important part of a communicator’s job at a big company is to be able to tailor employee messages to local audiences. Context is incredibly important to good internal communications, and being able to explain what a particular message means for employees and their roles – especially if it differs by region – will greatly strengthen the force of the communication.

As a result, many internal comms teams are dispersed around a big company’s global locations, and often have some team members doing communications work “off the side of their desks,” or alongside other non communications work.

Building a Network

The far flung nature of these teams makes it incredibly important to build and foster a strong, supportive, collaborative communications network. Seven steps will help.

  1. Appoint local “ambassadors”: Review your list of communicators around the globe and identify which individuals could serve as a local ‘Ambassador’ on the ground in each region. These ambassadors will be”go-to”’ people on the ground in each region to help:

    • Foster a local community of communicators

    • Cascade key messages to this group

    • Report back to the central team about what’s working and not working in their area, and where they need support, training, resources, etc.

  2. Convene monthly meetings: Once you’ve identified who your ambassadors are, convene the first of your monthly meetings as a communications network (CN).

    The ideal would be to have this first interaction all together in person – preferably at your company’s most exotic and exciting location – but recognizing logistical constraints and budgets may not allow this, a webcast or other virtual platform will suffice.

  3. Take a collaborative approach to setting the monthly call agenda: Ask your ambassadors what will be most helpful for them, whilst sharing what you expect from them. Together you can develop a service level agreement that outlines what the CN stands for, what your shared purpose and goals are, and how you will communicate with each other (all to encourage collaborative working).

    You could also consider rotating leadership for this monthly call among each member of the CN to keep them engaged and ensure it’s a collaborative meeting rather than top-down.

  4. Suggestions for your monthly agenda could include:

    • Discussing the key messages that will need to be communicated on a global and local level. The comms team at one pharma company that CEB, now Gartner works with coordinates communication activities across the organization through use of a central editorial calendar.

    • Sharing best practices (perhaps discuss a key theme each month).

    • Discussing what’s working and what’s not working across the regions and where communicators need support, resources, training, etc.

  5. Hold monthly or quarterly “masterclasses” for communicators: These will provide support and training in areas that those in the CN will need help with, as identified in the monthly calls.

    One comms team in CEB, now Gartner’s network takes this approach by developing masterclasses based on feedback that their local champions collect.

  6. Create a virtual, collaborative space: This is to allow global communicators to share ideas and best practices, to ask questions, and so on. Start with a closed Yammer group just for communicators (and perhaps one just for ambassadors) to enable communicators to share openly in a “safe” environment.

    Encourage your communicators to complete their profiles with areas of expertise to enable them to ask each other questions and identify the best person to help them.

  7. Consider running a mentor or buddy scheme: These can be run within each region to pair communicators who can then learn and share with each other on a regular basis, thus building a stronger network of communicators in their local area.

 

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