Studio engineers and internal communications: Three tips for getting the right mix

by | Apr 26, 2018

The job of internal communicators is oddly similar to that of a music studio engineer who mixes the music for a song. In a recording session, the goal of the music studio engineer is to find a sonic space for all of the various instruments in a recording so that the listener can hear everything that’s going on.

The engineer has to sort out all of the various music tracks and then prioritize the sounds to make sure that the critical elements are the most prominent. They have tricks for allowing sounds to occupy specific areas of the mix – out of the way of other sounds. And often, they’ll delete sounds that aren’t absolutely necessary or save those sounds to use in a different part of the song. Without the work of the studio engineer the song would most often be just a bunch of noise.

We do the same kind of work in internal communications. We have to determine what the most important messages are. We have to figure out where they should come from. Then then we have to make sure that there’s enough space for the messages to actually get through to employees. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of noise.

While studio engineers use balance, EQ, reverb, delay and compression to perform their magic, as internal communicators, we have a few tricks of our own:

  • Appropriate Use of Channels. Some communications channels are great for awareness, while others are great for detail. Employee magazines, newsletters, videos, podcasts and blogs can be great for communicating the details of a change initiative or a leader’s vision. Email, posters and digital signage work best with short, succinct messages that generate awareness and direct audiences toward the detail. Appropriate use of these channels can dramatically reduce clutter.
  • Appropriate Use of Speakers. Tribe’s research has taught us that employees prefer hearing certain messages from certain people. Messages announcing significant change or drawing a line in the sand regarding the company’s vision should come from senior leaders. Departmental or more tactical communications should come from the folks who are more directly responsible for that area of the company.
  • Appropriate Use of Time – Calendarization: Prioritizing when communications should happen is likely the most effective and perhaps least used elements in the internal communicators bag of tricks. If everyone is communicating everything all the time, the result is going to be a lot of noise and very little actual communication. Calendarization helps stakeholders find the best times to communicate – and helps them understand what their communications will compete with.

Of course, the message is still the most important element in internal communications. Clearly articulating why certain decisions are being made and helping employees understand how those decisions might affect their day-to-day work is the name of the game. But paying attention to the communications mix will help ensure that employees are hearing the intended messages.

Need help getting the right communications mix? Tribe can help.



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