AB Thinks  →  12th March 2020

Learn to Brag – Priya Bates on Inner Strength

AB Thinks

The latest episode of The Internal Comms Podcast has an international flavour, as we hear from one of our profession’s most qualified and charismatic individuals, all the way from Canada.

Priya Bates has been in IC for more than 20 years, working for some of Canada’s leading organisations before setting up her Inner Strength Communication consultancy.

An experienced public speaker, she is a leading voice for women and people of colour in our profession and has earned numerous accreditations in recognition of her outstanding contribution to IC.

Below we share a few of Priya’s views. To hear her conversation with Katie in full and access our growing catalogue of episodes featuring many of the world’s leading communicators, subscribe to The IC Podcast.

#1 Why the difference between external and internal comms is like “the difference between dating and marriage”
“When you’re dating, you’re trying to be sexy, you’re trying to tell people the good stuff, you’re trying to attract somebody. And you’re acting very differently. But once you start getting into commitment, you’re stuck with each other for a little while. You can decide to leave but try not to. And there’s a difference – and you don’t expect that. Yes, you want to keep the lights alive and keep things exciting, but you don’t do it every single day. You need to talk about the good stuff, but you also need to talk about the bad stuff. You need to say sorry. You need to be more authentic. So, it just feels like the right analogy.”

#2 There’s still a way to go for diversity and inclusion
“I think the difference today is we’re more aware because the conversation is very open about diversity and inclusion, about sexism, about what is and what isn’t allowed. And because the conversation is so open, you can’t not see the disconnects. We could probably have ignored them years ago or just accepted them as the norm – but as the conversation is elevated, it’s really hard for anyone to accept [inequality]. We’re in that kind of shock and anger stage of the change curve. But we still have a long way to go.”

#3 Learn to brag
“I wrote a blog that was called ‘Learning to Brag’, because for so long, we as the internal communication profession took pride in being behind the scenes and having the influence and having the power but not talking about it very much. We wanted to give our organisations and our leaders that spotlight, as we should. But afterwards, you need to also tell people what you did to make that difference. That’s part of the planning process: saying ‘what are we going to do?’ And the debrief that says, ‘Now what did we do? And what did we do really well, and we want to tell you about it’. It’s closing that loop. We have to be more disciplined about that as a profession.”

#4 Communication is the key
“I believe internal communication can accomplish anything. It’s an integral enabler of organisational success. I’ve seen it happen – I’ve seen organisations go through change with limited disruption because of the communication that’s happening. And that’s a team effort, it’s not just one individual. It’s a collaborative effort with leaders and operational leaders and everybody who’s involved. But communication is the key. We have to pick that one project, start with something you can really hang your hat on.”