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The Music of Internal Communications

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 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.

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