Monday 8 April 2019
You can follow Jenni on Twitter @mrsjennifield.
Working in River Island on a Saturday. I loved it, particularly serving customers and doing some merchandising of the store at weekends – it was great fun.
2. How did you get into internal communications?
I’ve always wanted to work in PR and, after doing my degree in marketing, I got a job in local government as a communications assistant. This was really broad as I dealt with press queries, wrote the community magazine and created content for internal change programmes. I loved the buzz of the media side so I went on to specialise in media relations in the private sector but missed the impact of internal comms. I then went on to set up an internal comms function within a marketing team and found a real interest in how it impacts business and supports strategy.
Working for an internal communications agency a few years later was where I found my real passion. I was responsible for the marketing and business development for them and as such I was totally immersed in the world of internal comms (writing white papers on digital channels and attending industry events).
3. What about your job most excites you?
I love seeing people ‘get’ the impact of communication. Working with business owners and teams like operations and supply chain means getting into the detail of how the business works – looking at that and how communication between teams and across the organisation can help is always exciting to me!
4. What do you think makes a good internal communicator?
Someone with an interest in business and communication. If you have a passion for how the business works combined with the core communications skills, you have the perfect match. You have to be resilient and creative to get things done and be consistent and reliable.
5. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Gosh this is tough! Business wise it has to be Busy by Tony Crabbe – I haven’t shut up about this since I read it in 2017. I read a lot of fiction as well – I’m a huge Lee Child fan when it comes to his Jack Reacher series!
6. What’s the biggest challenge for internal communications and how do you see it getting solved?
It seems to continue to be credible and I can only correlate this to what seems to be a lack of planning and strategy. I have set up four communications functions and each one starts with data. Spending time to understand stakeholders and channels – you have to have a starting point and a plan, otherwise you can busy yourself doing things that aren’t aligned to the business. We need to be in charge of the communication inside organisations and to do that we need to manage upwards to be given the time to create the plan.
7. If you could ban one piece of jargon what would it be and why?
Oh god. I keep catching myself almost using jargon on a regular basis. Probably Think outside the box, or maybe nail it to the wall – lots to choose from! In all seriousness it’s probably ‘holding the pen’ because I used it last week and my colleague couldn’t stop laughing!
8. What have you learned from any mistakes in your career?
Well, I’ve made a few, so lots to learn from! I had some fantastic training early in my career about adapting to different styles and influencing others. Understanding how your own behaviour impacts on others is really helpful to mitigate mistakes in relationships. The biggest learning is that any mistake can be corrected. No matter what, if you are accountable for it and do something to remedy it then it will all be ok.
9. Who is the person you most want to meet and why?
I would have said Simon Sinek but I was lucky enough to meet him a few years ago when he was in London. Today, I’d love to meet Barack Obama (I’m currently reading Michelle’s book) and Olivia Colman – for different reasons but I think the conversations with both would be fascinating!