The Importance of Teamwork

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As a communications professional, where do you fit in your organisation?

Do you feel as though you are at the centre of a hub of information that extends through the whole organisation, linking everyone who works there in a mutually supportive network?

Or do you feel consigned to the edges, told to get on with your job by yourself because after all you’re responsible for communications?

I’ve been in both situations and I’ve learnt that for communications to be effective, it needs to involve everyone in the organisation, whatever their role. Communications Managers and Information Officers are employed to manage and execute the process but it is impossible for us to do that without input from the whole organisation. After all, everyone in the organisation is doing something that is worth telling your supporters about!

Some organisations have a culture where people work very separately and are reluctant to accept the idea that everyone needs to be involved in communicating the work of the charity. If you find yourself in this kind of organisation, there are ways that you can help to bring everyone on board:

* Arrange meetings with everyone individually (or in teams) to discuss their work and what they would like to communicate to the general public or your organisation’s other audiences.

* Arrange regular Communications Meetings open to everyone in the organisation, where you and your team discuss your work, your successes, and ask other teams to let you know what they need from you.

* Keep everyone in the organisation up to date with your team’s successes. Email everyone links to articles you get in the online press, pin press cuttings to the noticeboard!

* Invite everyone to contribute to your newsletters and other publications.

* Set up a regular internal Communications briefing, so that everyone knows what you’re working on.

* If you are new to your role, make it clear from the very start, that you want to involve everyone, so that their work can be best represented to the organisation’s audiences.

These are just some ideas. What is your experience – are you in constant communication with every part of your organisation or have you been pushed to the side? If the latter, how are you trying to make communications more central to your organisation? Is it working?

Juliet Wilson has worked in Communications and Fundraising for a number of Scottish charities. She currently works as an adult education tutor.

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