The human face can display over ten thousand unique facial expressions, but only a few communicate the same message. Yet, this doesn't necessarily make face-to-face communication much easier.
We send messages also with our voice, body language, and verbal content, and style. This means that in business communication, the human face and body are dominant communication tools. We use them both consciously and unconsciously to send messages.
However, using only these channels can sometimes send just parts of the message, increasing the risk of miscommunication. But what happens when we cannot communicate in person?
Business communication today is heavily equipped with technology.
Needless to say, technology has changed the way we communicate and this change is an ongoing process. Effective two-way communication powered by technological communication channels can forge a strong collaboration, boost knowledge exchange, empower practice work.
The benefits of effective communication channels are particularly evident in internal communication which is why we are always looking for the best channels for internal communication.
Simply put, the best channel is the one that delivers the message most effectively. Every internal communication channel needs to be evaluated in terms of message, recipients, and project/business requirements. But to find the right tool that matches the needs of your team, you need to look a bit further because the tool you use for internal communication should be context-specific.
So, let's examine different types of channels for internal business communication.
● Face-to-face meetings
● Internal blog
● Social Media
● Discussions forums
● Chat and private messaging apps
● Corporate team building
#1 Face-to-face Meetings
Face-to-face meetings primarily provide an opportunity to read the body language and face expressions because through them we can build trust and transparency in communication.
The reach of the message is certainly limited to attendees, however, some messages are still best communicated in a small and private ambient, especially controversial topics or sensitive information.
But remember, the private meeting needs detailed planning and preparation, which can sometimes be a disadvantage.
Most mobile solutions built to improve internal communication strategy offer both desktop and mobile environments. These solutions are primarily created to improve communication with remote workers and to support their inclusion in the company.
Apps, text messages, social media, or push notifications are only a few channels used to communicate and collaborate with the dispersed workforce. Their benefits come from their focus on personalization as users can decide which information they want to receive and how the information or person can reach them. Accessibility and time effectiveness are other major benefits of mobile solutions.
#3 The internal blog
An internal blog comes as an integrated solution for communication and collaboration. The blog is connecting all sectors - human resources, PR, marketing, higher and lower management. It groups all employees and give them opportunities to actively contribute, share, exchange ideas, and speak their mind.
The internal blog can support many processes employees need to effectively work and grow their careers, in the first place, knowledge sharing.
Employees can use the internal blog to share ideas and experiences fast, communicate openly, connect across departments, stay up-to-date with company updates, be proactive in the company and contribute to the company culture.
With technology advancement, videos have become one of the most effective communication channels, especially popular for internal communication and usually integrated with other solutions.
Participants can easily engage and connect, given they use two senses, sound, and sight.
Being ideal for presentations and showcases, videos are effective when they are produced for the purpose. Combining the video communication tools with other knowledge-sharing features primarily meets the needs of the remote teams.
An intranet can be a versatile medium for corporate communication given it is a private hub.
However, although beneficial, if you choose the wrong one, it can have an opposite and undesirable effect to what was intended. If poorly designed, intranets can be time-consuming due to authentication processes and a nightmare for onboarding new employees.
When used properly, a newsletter can be a good communication channel. Whether printed or electronic, when designed with a target audience in mind, the message can be effectively sent and moreover, measured in terms of acceptance and ROI.
Newsletters are a popular channel for promotions and e-commerce, but they can be effectively used to send internal messages, news, and updates when the message is carefully targeted and used as a post-agreement memo.
#7 Social Networks
Everyone is on social networks, whether for pleasure or business. Social networks can be used for both external and internal communication due to their many communication-oriented features and accessibility.
Social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn are not the only options. Many businesses are exploring niche social networks or building their own social environments. Whichever way you use them, just make sure you are using the right social channel.
We all have an email, and we all use it on a daily basis. This is one of the most common and versatile channels, but oftentimes inadequate as it is being overused.
Emails are great channels for certain types of messages. Otherwise, unless crafted carefully and for a particular occasion, there is a high probability the message is going to be lost. This is a common disadvantage when it comes to internal communication, and both the sender and the recipient can suffer a great deal if one of the 147 (and then some!) emails one usually receives on a daily basis is buried somewhere in the inbox.
#9 Discussion forums
You may think that discussion forums are somewhat old tech, but they are very much alive and still preferred solutions for some businesses.
Management and employees can be brought together and discuss openly on any topic. Participating in regular discussion forums can bring together team members around the same ideas where they can effectively disseminate knowledge.
The internal blog also has specific characteristics of the discussion forum and can add more value to the knowledge exchange in terms of archiving knowledge one can easily access later. The result is the effectiveness with which the information is discovered by people who need it and when they need it.
#10 Chat & Private Messaging
Private messaging and chats are used as collaborative spaces to disseminate business information fast and easily.
Instant messaging helps employees keep up to date with projects. This is a good solution especially for the teams that are spread across different geographical locations.
#11 Corporate Team Building
Corporate games can be used to communicate major change initiatives within the company and serve as a community-building solution.
Their benefits come from the fact that employees can become more engaged and interested in the company. Whether these activities last several days or a few minutes or hours every day, through games people connect more easily and openly, which builds trust and solidarity in the teams.
To sum up...
No two internal communication tools are the same. Choose the solution based on your team needs, industry and niche, message content and workload, business and project requirements, audience, and company culture - if you want the best solution.
But before you do, make sure you test the solution to see if it fits your needs. Try our internal blog and see how it can help you.