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Internal and external communication: What’s the difference?

by | Apr 4, 2023

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Good communication is an essential part of any successful workplace. Without it, teams and organisations can quickly become disorganised and inefficient. 

Communication helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. It also helps foster a productive work environment where people feel comfortable expressing their ideas, opinions, and concerns. Effective communication also allows for better problem-solving and decision-making among team members. 

In addition to being vital for productivity, communication creates more robust relationships between employees which in turn leads to improved morale, greater job satisfaction, and enhanced loyalty. Strong communication within the workplace translates into success for businesses of all sizes. 

There are a few different forms of communication within a workplace, and the main two are internal and external communication. They are equally as important but will require different strategies for you to get the most out of each style. Let’s find out what the differences between internal and external communication are and what your organisation needs to be doing to improve in both.

What is internal communication?

Internal communication within a workplace is the exchange of information between employees and employers. It can take on many forms, such as emails, memos, announcements and conversations. Effective internal communication plays an important role in fostering a productive work environment. Through clear communication, everyone in the organisation can remain informed about ongoing projects and initiatives, understand their roles better, and stay up-to-date with company policy changes. Additionally, good internal communication encourages collaboration between teams and departments by allowing them to share best practices, resources and ideas quickly. 

Effective internal communication requires more than just passing along information; it should be tailored to fit the needs of each particular team or individual. This includes considering language differences for those who may not speak the same language as everyone else or being mindful of timing when sending out emails. Additionally, communication should be timely and consistent so that employees can trust the information they receive. Regular check-ins with team members also help to ensure everyone is on the same page about tasks at hand and any changes in company processes. 

Overall, internal communication plays an important role in helping companies reach their goals by keeping everyone informed and engaged. By taking the time to understand the needs of each individual or team within your organisation, you can create a strong foundation for effective internal communication. This will help ensure your staff are productive and motivated while working together towards common objectives.

What is external communication?

On the other hand, external communication is the exchange of information between an organisation and its stakeholders outside of the organisation. This can include customers, vendors, suppliers, investors or any other member or entity that interacts with a business. Effective external communication is essential to building relationships with key stakeholders and managing their expectations in terms of services offered and commitments made.

External communication should be tailored to fit each individual stakeholder’s needs and different channels may need to be used depending on who you are communicating with; emails for individuals, phone calls for firms etc. It’s also important to ensure timely responses so that stakeholders feel respected and that their concerns are being addressed. 

By investing in effective external communication, organisations can foster strong relationships with their stakeholders as well as take advantage of opportunities for business growth. By utilising the right tools, channels and approaches to communicate with key stakeholders, organisations will help ensure that everyone is on the same page about expectations and commitments. This will create a strong platform for collaboration between different entities to drive positive results. 

Overall, internal and external communication plays an important role in helping companies reach their goals by keeping everyone informed and engaged. By taking the time to understand the needs of each individual or team within your organisation, as well as those of external stakeholders, you can create a strong foundation for successful communication that will have a positive impact on your business.

Communication and technology

With the help of communication tools like email, instant messaging, and video conferencing, employees can connect with each other from anywhere in the world, making communication more accessible and convenient. These tools not only save time but also enable quick responses, allowing for more efficient decision-making. For instance, a manager can communicate with their team members in real time, providing feedback, updates, and instructions as needed. This can be particularly useful for teams working remotely or across different time zones.

Moreover, technology can help eliminate miscommunication, which can be a common source of workplace conflicts. By using tools like project management software, teams can stay on the same page, track project progress, and share relevant information with each other. This can help prevent misunderstandings, reduce errors, and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. For instance, a team member can post a status update on a project, which can be viewed by everyone in the team, ensuring that everyone is aware of the latest developments.

Another way technology can improve communication within a workplace is by enhancing collaboration. Collaboration tools like shared online workspaces, virtual whiteboards, and document-sharing platforms can allow team members to work together seamlessly, no matter where they are located. For instance, a team can collaborate on a project using a virtual whiteboard, where they can brainstorm ideas, discuss strategies, and share feedback. This can help build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, which can ultimately lead to better outcomes.

Technology can help improve communication within a workplace in many ways, from facilitating quick and efficient communication to eliminating miscommunication and enhancing collaboration. By using these tools effectively, organisations can create a more communicative and collaborative work environment, leading to increased productivity, better teamwork, and ultimately, business success.

Whole Brain® Thinking and Communication

The workplace is an intersection of different Thinking Styles™. Optimising your team’s communication skills is an untapped competitive advantage that the world’s most successful organisations utilise – and you can too.

Being able to adapt to other communication styles allows people to get their message across to all kinds of people. With Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® as the catalyst, employees can fine-tune communication for better business results.

Many businesses implement communication strategies in the workplace, however, without the right tools to support these initiatives they often lack tangible value.

At Herrmann, we empower employees and HR professionals to use Whole Brain® Thinking to ensure a real and lasting impact when improving workplace communication.

Discover the following resources to improve communication in your workplace.

If you want to learn more about how Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® can help you and your organisation, have a look at how it works here or get in touch and we’ll help you find the right solution. 

Click this box to find a solution to your workplace goal

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