As an internal communications professional, many days I feel like I am conducting an orchestra.
After just over a year in this world, I can safely say that my expectations and understanding of internal communications are constantly evolving.
I took two semesters of conducting in college and one of my teachers, Dr. Matthew Mailman, said, “The conductor’s job is to make the musician’s job easier.”
That’s only a small part of an internal communicator’s job; we also want to help the company succeed more efficiently and harmoniously by inspiring our employees to sing out, play with purpose, and understand their role within a larger ensemble.
Here are a few ways that being an internal communications professional is like being the conductor of an orchestra:
There are a few core themes (messages) within the symphony being played.
Each department is like an instrumental section and each initiative is like a single instrument.
Those initiatives will fit into the core themes 90% of the time.
- When a department comes to me wanting help in communicating their current initiative, I collaborate with them on how best to do it:
Which core theme does this fall under?
Are you soloing the melody, harmonizing with the current soloist, or are you supporting accompaniment?
Should this music be played slowly, staccato, with feeling, with movement?
When is it your chance to play and how long is your line? Is there any repetition?
How can we make your moment feel authentic and meaningful to your audience?
As a conductor, I’m multitasking to the max trying to make sure the right instruments are heard at the right time by the right audiences.
I am not physically making any music; employees are. I am merely here to make our teams more effective and to understand how best to get the organization to sing in harmony.
*My role requires as much or more listening than playing.*
At times it feels like the organization is switching keys. I’m hearing similar themes, but the aura is different and it’s clear that we’ve all been through a transition and must adjust the volume and style of playing.
The show must go on.
"Conductor" comes from the Latin word “conducere” meaning “bring together.” I think that’s the part of my job I love the most: helping bring together the many voices of our hospital into one harmonious song.