The Internal Comms Podcast

Season 8: In the rear view mirror

With Season 9 of The Internal Comms Podcast right around the corner, host Katie Macaulay has taken the opportunity to reflect on the wisdom and insight shared over our latest season and complied some highlights we know you, the audience, will enjoy.

This bonus episode spotlights some of the standout moments from Season 8. From a surprise trip to the stars with ICology’s Kristin Hancock to actionable advice on how leaders can become better communicators with Adrian Cropley, this is a whistlestop tour of some of the most fascinating conversations of 2022.

With each season of The Internal Comms Podcast, one thing becomes increasingly clear: internal comms is rising up the corporate agenda. Leaders can no longer ignore the power of building an organisation from the inside out.

Season 9 launches on 8 February, so don’t forget to hit that subscribe button today if you’re not already following along. We can’t wait to introduce this season’s guests.

Download transcript

Katie 00:09
Hello, and welcome to this special compilation episode of the internal comms podcast with me. Katie Macaulay. When I started this show back in January 2019, of all the comms disciplines; marketing, media relations, investor relations, corporate affairs – internal communications was often the poor relation. We seem to get less management airtime, less budget, and certainly less kudos. But goodness me, how that has changed. Now there are many reasons why communicating and connecting with employees has been pushed up the corporate agenda, winning the war for talent, understanding and meeting employees, changing needs and expectations. And above all, I think, a final dawning realisation that employees really are an organisation’s primary audience, the stakeholder group that essentially looks after all the other ones. In short, we all now know that great organisations are built from the inside out.

And on the flip side, a common component of almost every business problem I’ve witnessed over the years, from major catastrophic disasters to those minor yet disruptive skirmishes, is poor communication. So, in this show, I sit down with leading lights from the world of business, communication, and academia to explore how we can continue to improve communication in the workplace. How do we best inform, motivate and involve our people?

The curtain is about to go up on season nine of the show. But before it does to whet your appetite, here are a few highlights from our last season.

One of the joys of hosting this show is learning about people’s secret passions and how these inform and inspire people’s work. After substantial corporate experience, Kristin Hancock is perhaps now best known for running the peer-led community ICology with her partner in life and work, Chuck Gose. But what I didn’t know before my research for this interview was her deep interest in astrology. Here’s a clip from Episode 66, where I’m trying to understand the essence of astrology. And in doing so, uncover how Kristen’s passion has helped her reach a better understanding of herself and others. So is the idea that the moment that you are born into this world tells you and how the stars are aligning, the planets are aligning at that moment tells you something quite deep about yourself? Is that? Am I barking up the right tree?

Kristin 03:21
Yes, that’s a great way of describing it. Yeah. So, your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky at the moment that you took your first breath. And from that snapshot, we can see parts of your personality; we can see some challenges that are inherent to who you are, we can see the gifts that you have. And we can also see the narration of a story that will unfold throughout your life and some of the opportunities that might be presented to you.

Katie 03:47
You said you were going through a difficult time. What made astrology help was being I guess, clearer about who you really were and what the future might look like, again, am I, would that be fair?

Kristin 04:03
Yes. And I would say it’s, it was two things. Part of it was, like I said, this radical self-acceptance where the woman that I met with pointed things out about myself, some of which were a little uncomfortable. As we all know, we have parts of ourselves that are a little uncomfortable to acknowledge. But it was a way of looking at myself that wasn’t critical. It was a way of looking at myself in an exploratory way. And in a way, that reminded me that that’s who I am. And so some of these challenges that I’ve beat myself up for can be superpowers if I look at them in a certain way, and if I work with that energy, and if I know that it’s there. The other part that I find validating about astrology is that everything comes in time, and everything is cyclical. And so when something is really challenging, and when you’re in the middle of an absolute storm, it’s not going to be forever, and that’s part of what I find reassuring about looking at astrology as I can look at, okay, this is you’re in the middle of something right now. And I’m, I’m telling you that because I’m validating for you that what you’re experiencing is very real. This is very challenging right now. And you’ve gone through challenging things before. And you will get through this challenging thing as well.

Katie 05:19
It’s that thought, isn’t it? This too, will pass.

Kristin 05:22

Katie 05:23
There’s a perspective that’s so helpful. I really like that. And knowing yourself really does help when it comes to things like professional development as well because we don’t want cookie-cutter comms professionals, do we?

Kristin 05:38
Absolutely not.

Katie 05:39
We want people to explore their unique traits.

Kristin 05:41
And we want people who are moving into leadership who are very self-aware; we want people who are emotionally intelligent, who know themselves, who, in as many as much as they can, can see the blind spots. I know that’s an oxymoron. But you know, to know your strengths and to know the challenges and to be able to work with people who complement that or to be able to acknowledge when you’re experiencing conflict at work – what your role in that conflict is.

Katie 06:09
In 2022, I was fortunate enough to attend the IABC World Conference (International Association of Business Communicators), and within minutes of Mari Lee taking to the stage, I knew I wanted her as a guest on my show. Mari has extraordinary experience of qualitative research. She really does understand its power to give us that insight we need to connect with people and to change attitudes and behaviours. What I didn’t know before my research for the interview, was the work that she had done as head of the social mobilisation campaign to tackle the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Here’s Mari in Episode 67, explaining why qualitative research asking people open questions without any kind of agenda is so powerful. She’s speaking here about a particular research project in a manufacturing environment.

Mari 07:18
There’s something very interesting that happens when we ask people questions. And they start thinking, and what we observe in more than one environment, but specifically in a motor vehicle manufacturing plant. We were tracking their quality and production figures from before we started doing the research, during the research after the research, and then through solution development, and implementation. And we already saw an increase in production and an increase in the number of quick flags on quality issues. Just after the research, we haven’t even implemented anything, but just asking the questions around communication in that environment. And why? Why do you think it takes us so long to identify quality issues? Just asking those questions and asking it throughout the organisation from all levels of the organisation really created a common language and a common thinking process? And they were self-solutioning? And I think that’s the beauty of qualitative research. The answer is usually inside the organisation. You don’t need to bring in external consultants to find answers. If you bring them in as a facilitator to look for the solutions bottom up in your organisation, you are going to find people in your organisation who, because of a number of barriers, we know authority is a barrier for authentic communication. We also know in a lot of these environments, these manufacturing environments, between the guy who bolts, who puts the screw in your car, who is on the line and the quality manager who makes the decisions – there is seven layers of management. So, it’s very, very difficult for that guy to get his message and intention and solution to the boardroom. And if we create the channel through organisational listening or qualitative research, then usually we can find those solutions internally and people respond, people want to be heroes, listened to. We are wired for connection and and if I see you implementing my results, I will keep those ideas coming. It’s when we don’t see, I always use this example, if you give a two-year-old, no matter what race, no matter what tribe, no matter what. If you give a two-year-old laptop, and it is on, and they start pressing buttons, and they see something happening, they’re going to continue, and they’re going to investigate this laptop, and that will probably keep them busy for quite some time. If you give that same two-year-old a laptop that is switched off, and they press the buttons, and nothing happens, they disengage. And that’s just human behaviour, right? So as long as we show people, what should we do with their ideas, or get back to them and say, that’s a great idea, but you know what, here’s a bit of context you and I didn’t have. And that idea, unfortunately, is not going to work for reason XYZ, then you keep them engaged. And that’s dialogue. Qualitative research is usually just the first step in a conversation that needs to be ongoing.

Katie 08:44
Yes. In Episode 69, we invited Mike Klein back on the show. Mike is a leading voice in our profession. I’ve long been a fan of his sharp thinking and writing, his business acumen, and his laser-like focus on ensuring internal comms makes a demonstrable impact on the performance of our organisations. Here’s my explaining how, in a world of finite business resources, when cost-cutting is never far from the corporate agenda. We can fight to retain or even grow our budgets.

Mike 11:52
We need to sharpen our elbows – we need to be able to, you know, to fight for resources in the organisations in which we operate. And that involves several things; it involves being able to demonstrate the impact of what we do, demonstrate the risk of not doing it and to challenge the value of stuff that’s baked in. I mean, I know of communication functions that may have built in, you know, seven-figure budgets, but that includes the annual management conference and includes the employee engagement survey, and your discretionary budget, may be lucky to be in double digits with their discretionary budget. If you’re saying 20% budget cut, why can’t you question the continued value of the employee engagement survey? Why can’t you question having the management conference at a six-star hotel?

Katie 12:48
The question, I guess, is, if you want me to cut my budget, what do you not want me to do? And what value do you place on everything else that is being paid for? But perhaps also, a bigger question to ask, well, the starting question might be, because I don’t know if you see this Mike, but I see internal communications in particular meaning very different things inside different organisations. A good question to ask off the bat might be, what role does IC play here? What value which you’d like it to deliver here? What does it look like inside this organisation? And actually, write that down. Get that agreed to before you do anything else. Because you’ve really got to know, what’s the game plan here?

Mike 13:31
Well, I think you need to take a step further back and set and say, okay, what are the real objectives of the organisation? So is it the stuff that you say are your strategic priorities? And this is again, where the two-question survey comes in, when you’re asking people the questions? What are the three biggest priorities that the company has? And what are the three biggest things that you’re doing in your job? If the people in the organisation think your three biggest priorities are not the three biggest things on your priority list; then you’ve got a clear communication challenge, you’ve got a clear alignment challenge, and you likely have a clear operational challenge.

Katie 14:11
Yeah, absolutely.

Mike 14:12
And then you’ve managed to surface it, which means that you can then construct a comms strategy, rather than keeping the lights on and every channel that you have, or keeping every manager who wants a newsletter happy – to actually doing those things that move the needle in each of those target areas.

Katie 14:36
In Episode 70, I interviewed Shelby Scarborough, author of a new book, Civility Rules! Creating a Purposeful Practice of Civility. Shelby has a wealth of experience in complex high stakes communication through working at the White House. Here’s Shelby talking about how to earn the trust of your leader. Or in this example, the wife of the leader of the free world. All of that work must have involved building a really close, trusting relationship with some incredibly important people, both your own people, your senior politicians in the US. But then, dignitaries from abroad, do you have any thoughts or advice on how we can all build more trusting, strong relationships? Perhaps with a senior leader or senior stakeholder?

Shelby 15:36
The first and foremost idea that comes to mind is, well, consistency and reliability are really important for building trust because people can trust that you’re going to be someplace or that you’re going to do something. But I think the bigger one is really just almost the most obvious, which is to tell the truth and be straightforward. Mrs. Reagan was somebody who didn’t want to pass baloney on to anybody. But she was really precise and really direct in her questions. And I think all with the right heart of wanting to make sure that it was right for her husband and that he was going to be shown in the best light and have the best opportunities to present his message and communicate with the world or with world leaders. And so, she was a person that I always said, look, if you just tell her the truth, it’s not always easy because she might not like the answer. If you tried to white-coat it or powder over it or something, you lost her trust because she knew that’s what you were trying to do. And so most successful people with her were the ones who were just direct and said, “this is the way it is now. If you don’t like it, we can change it. Or we can’t change it,” you know, and just were honest and not try to make it sound a little nicer than it is because the tendency is to want to please people. I understand that tendency; I’m a people pleaser. I work to serve other people to make their lives more effective and efficient. But at the same time, not being straightforward is not helpful because it doesn’t help with expectations, and it ultimately breaks down trust.

Katie 17:07
In its 100-year history, the Irish National Police Force had never had a head of internal communications. So, when Joanna Parsons took on the role, there were plenty of hurdles to overcome, not least explaining what she was actually there to do. And then, within a year of her appointment, the pandemic hit. During our conversation, Joanna said COVID affected every organisation. But it was so much more extreme in the police. It didn’t just affect our business; it became our business. Joanna had already developed a digital newsletter, and throughout the pandemic she published it every single day. This became the single source of truth for the entire organisation on what to do and how to do it during the pandemic. Here’s a clip from that episode number 71.

Joanna 18:07
Do you know when I decided to move on from the police, I had an email from a police officer that I had never met, had never talked to. And I’ll remember this email forever because he thanked me profusely for the work I had done. And he referred to this newsletter as the digital heartbeat of the organisation.

Katie 18:25

Joanna 18:26
This just stopped me in my tracks. Now this newsletter had a really good open-rate consistently high at about 70% for two years. That’s in an organisation where most people, they aren’t sitting at desks. They didn’t have smartphones or laptops yet. And the reason my newsletter was such a roaring success is because I really understood what my audience needed. So, it wasn’t really about well, I’ve done this somewhere else, and it worked. But it was understanding that police officers are very busy, task-focused people. And they have a very strong aversion to what they might describe as corporate bullshit or management speak. What they really needed was; short, sharp, bite-sized chunks of information that were relevant, that they were useful, and they could consume it easily and understand it immediately. So, for example, I put a very strict word count of 200 words for any front-page article. And everything had to be in plain English, like 200 words is pretty short.

Katie 19:30

Joanna 19:31
What I did was I adopted that American military principle of bottom-line up front, which basically means get to the point, put what you want to say at the source. So, a really practical tip for listeners, for example, is that you should absolutely agonise over the writing of your headlines and the subject line of your newsletter. So, get the points make it relevant, and make it interesting. I mean the way a journalist would do. So, for example, an article about the correct way to wear a mask on a cold day, you wouldn’t say – instructions on how to wear a mask. Instead, you could say, wear a mask under your snood. So if they don’t even read the article, they’ve got the point, they’ve got the instruction, they know what to do. So that’s about the like, get to the point and the other. The issue with communication in the police was a lot to do with the tone of voice and the language that was used. Everything was overly formal, very long-winded quite hard to understand quickly. And you can understand this when you realise that police officers are trained to write for court, so they are trained to write down every single piece of information that might be useful, keep it formal, keep it factual. So, one big change that I brought in with this newsletter was to introduce a very conversational, relaxed tone of voice, simple changes like you’re instead of you are or saying we instead of (undetectable), and I also introduced some humour, which was completely alien to the police force. So, in this newsletter, I used memes, cartoons, infographics, puns – anything to make it memorable to get the key messages across. So, for example, I remember we got some feedback that police officers were perhaps more likely to be a bit more complacent on social distancing when they were in the break room getting a cup of tea. So, we did some communications using taglines like, Don’t risk it for a biscuit or COVID-19 is nobody’s cup of tea. For the most part, people loved the introduction of humour. And I got some kind of unexpected feedback that people said it actually helps to alleviate the massive anxiety that they were having during lockdown and during the pandemic. It sparked some conversations between colleagues who might otherwise have only been talking about work. So, it was actually a small change but had a big impact.

Katie 22:01
Adrian Cropley is widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost experts in strategic communication. In 2015, Adrian founded the Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence, which builds comms capabilities within organisations working to improve the skills of executives, and leaders. In this clip from Episode 72, I asked Adrian to give us the inside track on how he coaches leaders to become better communicators. I’d like to ask you about your executive coaching practice. And again, I’m just really curious about this. Is there a sort of common impact that coaching has on executives? Are there patterns that you’ve seen now that you’ve been doing it for some time?

Adrian 22:55
You know, there is. I mean, even though every individual is different, and when you go into the discussion with an executive and say, look we’re leading you down a path of coaching. To me the common theme is about insight on self. And this is why recently, you know, I’ve just gotten got accredited to deliver emotional intelligence reports. And I’m using that in my toolkit with executives, because what they’re really looking for, and they don’t know what at the time, is, because often they come along; “I need to communicate better, I need a coach on this one.” Actually, you need to understand yourself better, the people that you lead better, and then how you make that connection through communication. You know, there’s there’s that whole gap that we talk about; knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and that’s the gap we’re filling in organisations. I’ve just applied that in the executive coaching, is what’s the knowledge that you need to communicate better? What attitudes do you need to have around it? And that attitude of being open, and transparent and listening and all of those sorts of things? And what actions do you need to take? So how do we close that gap for leaders between what they say and what they do? And if I focus on those three things with executives, that works really well for them to gain that insight. So, the rest is all about the tools. So, whether it’s an emotional intelligence report, or a DISS report or a Myers Briggs, I’ll use those tools to bring that out. So, I guess you know, what I’ve learned is that commonality in leaders is that they come into it not quite knowing what they want. But actually, what they want to do is connect with people better. And that’s what they get out of it. And you suddenly go, ah, there we go. And then I’ve had executives come back to me like four years later, and “Oh, my God Adrian, I still reflect on that conversation when we did that coaching. And I have such great relationships at work now, because of that journey that I took.” And it wasn’t me, it was their journey, I was just teasing it out.

Katie 25:02
You were sort of facilitating it. I’m wondering though, is it possible to make every leader no matter what their style is, a better communicator? I’m also assuming in that question that we’re not actually changing fundamentally, who somebody is because that would be impossible. I’m guessing.

Adrian 25:23
Impossible. Absolutely impossible. It is working with the style that somebody has. So, there’s an, and I think a lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to change people through training and development over years and says, right, this is the way you do it. I think we’ve learned these days to go, let’s work with somebody’s style, and then how they communicate better, because just looking at themselves and their interactions and their skills and abilities, and the needs of others. And, by some sort of miracle, we kind of look at the audience. And that’s what we’re teaching them, look at the audience. It’s the audience that controls everything, not you. So, if you’re an ego-driven leader. And you know, that’s who you are as a personality; the more you’re aware of that, what the need is for the people that you are leading – the better that connection comes. So absolutely. And in fact, Dr Newman, who developed the Roche model of emotional intelligence, said that emotional intelligence can be taught.

Katie 26:33

Adrian 26:34
It actually, it says it’s not, this adage of they’re a born leader. Yeah, there’s born skills of leadership, but it appeals to a certain group of people. So that inspirational leader that will always get on board because they’re super friendly and all of that. That doesn’t mean that’s always the perfect leader for the different audiences. Right? So, we’ve got to work within the understanding that needs what people want, and how do we fill that gap by understanding self?

Katie 27:06
You’re making me think of that George Bernard Shaw quote, which is something like the problem with communication is the illusion that it’s taken place.

Adrian 27:16
Yeah.That’s it.

Katie 27:17
But that’s the leader’s problem, isn’t it?

Adrian 27:20
It is absolutely.

Katie 27:24
We ended season eight of the show with Jennifer Thomas. Jennifer is a senior in-house comms practitioner, currently at the London Stock Exchange group, where she is Head of Communications for its data and analytics business. In this wide-ranging conversation, we talk about; the progress organisations are making around diversity and inclusion, the importance of comms both developing their business acumen, and why we need to make sure we’re sitting at the right tables. In this clip from Episode 73, we’re talking about what’s unique and special about the internal comms audience, and how the needs and expectations of employees have radically changed in recent years. You’ve worked right across the comms disciplines. And I’m just curious on your thoughts. Do you consider the internal audience different to other ones? Or should the same rules and approaches apply? Do you think?

Jennifer 28:29
I think the same theory is the same regardless of audience back to what we’ve just talked about, right? So, you’re always trying to get your audience to engage period, whether it’s an external audience, or an internal audience, employee audience, so a lot of I think my methods of doing that apply across the piece, right? You just tailor for the audience. So, your channels will be different, how you turn up your tone might be, you know, you start to segment. But the principle is still the same. I think though, with employee communications, I think it comes with a bit of an added nuance of perhaps a big emphasis on connection. So, it’s not just engagement. And I think that’s even more so given where we sat about to, get go into 2023. And everything happening across the world people are experiencing the world of work is very different from where it was two and a half, almost three years ago. I think employees are looking yearning searching for connection in a different way than perhaps we’re not perhaps definitely than we were three years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, right? We are no longer just sort of walking through the doors. Keep our heads down, deliver a set piece of work and leave again, right? I think people want more. They want purpose, they want to be able to connect with their employers, they want a reason beyond just the paycheck to work. They want a sense of pride. They want flexible working environments. They want organisations that play to their morals and values. You know, I just think the world of work is very different. And so, therefore, the role employee comms play in that is also very different. So, I just think it’s an added nuance and consideration of, I think sometimes stretching our senior stakeholders and exec to really hone in on that.

Katie 30:52

Jennifer 30:53
Because it matters. And so, you can’t, you can no longer get away, we definitely can no longer get away with what we will call one way push communication.

Katie 31:04

Jennifer 31:05
That’s gone. People want to engage in conversation, they will tell you what they think, yes, more openly than perhaps again of years past. They want to feel heard; they want to see change. So, I think, again, I’ll say that presents an opportunity for us as communicators, to stretch our thinking and our creativity and mindset around that engagement and connection piece with applying calls.

Katie 31:35
I’m always very appreciative when guests really open up and share not only their successes, but a few of the bumps in the road. Here’s a clip from Jennifer, on how she has approached managing her career, and the importance of not comparing your journey to that of others. On the surface, you seem to have had a very successful and linear career. But I know when we spoke prior to this interview, you’ve actually been made redundant not once, but twice. And I just wonder, do you have advice for dealing with knockbacks? First of all.

Jennifer 32:16
Definitely. So, it’s really easy, especially in this day and age, we go on all our social channels, and everything looks glowing and linear and perfect. That’s the way we are definitely not the case. So, I haven’t had a linear career, a good friend, former Ford colleague of mine, she has her own business called Squiggly Careers, because that’s exactly what it is. I think very few careers nowadays are linear, actually, I think it’s a bit of a myth. And the danger of it is we build our development against a linear career, and it feels like a knockback.

Katie 32:52
Right. Interesting.

Jennifer 32:54
And so, I’m always coaching people to almost drop that analogy completely. Because you’re almost setting yourself up in a lot of instances to instantly fail, which is nice. So, I think it is good to think about a bit of a squiggly career, career path. And the trajectory, hopefully will be linear, if that’s what you choose, not everybody wants a linear career either. Right? Again, going back to our conversation, the world of work is just different. It’s very different now. And actually, what you should be doing is looking for the roles and the opportunities that, I call it feed your soul, give you what you need, and help you feel a sense of accomplishment. And that’s your definition of that sense of accomplishment. Not anybody else’s, not a textbook, not HR – it’s your definition of your career. Because there will be knockbacks, challenges, stumbling blocks, you know, whatever you want to call it. There are going to be hurdles along the way. And understanding the landscape of which you’re trying to navigate is what helped me with those hurdles and challenges. I’m always thinking about what am I doing today that feeds my soul? That fuels me for what I’m trying to do tomorrow. So, I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about what that tomorrow is, and tomorrow could literally be tomorrow. It could be next week, next month, it could be 10 years from now, again, my definition nobody else’s. And it changes and evolves because as human beings we change and evolve. So, what tomorrow looked like 15 years ago for me, it’s not what tomorrow looks like today, right? So, it’s also okay for that to change, which is why I say it’s your definition, nobody else’s. As long as you’re really clear about what that is, and I always encourage people to take time to do that thinking in whatever way you do your thinking, your mind mapping, you know, find your way to map it and articulate it. Because when it’s hard and when it’s challenging and when you get a hurdle or a knockback, going back to your own personal vision is what keeps momentum and keeps you going.

Katie 35:12
Season nine of the Internal Comms Podcast kicks off next Wednesday, the eighth of February with fortnightly episodes. If you are already a fan of the show, I would be really grateful. If you could leave us a review on Apple podcasts. We have nearly 70 reviews so far. It would be great to get this number to 100. It just helps the algorithms, gives them a little nudge. It will mean more IC professionals around the world can find the show. So, my lovely, lovely listeners until we meet again for season nine of the show. Stay safe and well. And remember, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Jump to

Written in the stars: Kristin Hancock on how a deeper understanding of and relationship with yourself will empower you to be a better communicator. [03:03]

The power of enquiry: Mari Lee on the transformative impact simply asking questions can have in a work environment. [07:18]

Our share of the pie: Mike Klein on how and why comms pros can grow their budget. [11:52]

Build trust first: Shelby Scarbrough on forging relationships with powerful people. [15:09]

A practical tip: Joanna Parsons on ‘getting to the point’ as a comms pro. [18:07]

Connecting through comms: Adrian Cropley on the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. [22:37]

The evolving audience: Jennifer Thomas on how the needs and expectations of colleagues have changed beyond recognition. [28:29]

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Does your approach to internal communication have the human touch? It’s essential to the humans you employ, says Victoria Dew, CEO of Dewpoint Communications and an internal com...

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Episode 91 – How to build a one-person IC powerhouse

November 22, 2023

Ever feel like, as an internal communicator, you’re fighting an uphill battle all by yourself? This week’s guest on The Internal Comms Podcast has exactly what you need. Host ...

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Episode 90 – A shared vision: ED&I and IC in action

November 8, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by Sim Sian, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Mitie, and Yvonne O’Hara, formerly Mitie’s Grou...

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Episode 89 – Netflix-style IC: Snackable, on-demand and authentic

October 25, 2023

In this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by Access Group’s Global Head of Communications and Engagement, Paul Downey. Paul caught Katie’s ...

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Episode 88 – It’s fixable: How to tackle hard problems

October 11, 2023

In this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay is joined by Anne Morriss. Anne is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and the Executive Founder of the Lea...

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Episode 87 – Tracing the legacy of internal comms

September 27, 2023

It’s often said we must understand the past to build the future, and that sentiment sits at the very heart of this episode. This week on The Internal Comms Podcast we welcome pr...

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Episode 86 – How to crush your next public speaking gig

September 13, 2023

Season 10 of the Internal Comms Podcast kicks off with one of Katie’s most compelling conversations yet. Shil Shanghavi is a public speaking specialist, storyteller and head of...

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Coming soon: Season 10 of The Internal Comms Podcast

September 6, 2023

Our summer break is drawing to a close, Katie has dusted off her mic and we’re ready to launch Season 10 of The Internal Comms Podcast! This season, we’ll be welcoming more o...

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Moment 18 – 3% of employees are driving 90% of conversations: Mike Klein

August 30, 2023

In this moment, we catch up with Mike Klein, former political consultant, modern-day communications stalwart, and two-time guest on the Internal Comms Podcast. Mike breaks down h...

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Moment 17 – How we create meaning: Sue Dewhurst & Liam FitzPatrick

August 23, 2023

What’s our one true purpose as internal communicators? It’s the question we’re all seeking the answer to. This moment takes us back to when Katie first welcomed Sue Dewhurs...

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Moment 13 – The message must change at each leadership level: Dr Kevin Ruck

August 16, 2023

If there’s one thing we’re clear about at AB, it’s that communication should not be a one-way street. And that’s what this moment is about. We head back to Episode 13, w...

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Moment 06 – On tolerance, kindness and being enough: Henry Normal

August 9, 2023

As communicators, we could often do with slowing things down a little. In this moment, Henry Normal – author and co-founder of production company Baby Cow, which he founded with ...

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Moment 01 – What happens inside is reflected outside: Rachel Miller

August 2, 2023

Have you heard of an inside-out approach to communication? It’s no secret that today’s internal comms messages seep into the world outside the office walls. After all, anythi...

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Episode 85 – Lessons from a trailblazer

July 26, 2023

We’re ending Season 9 of the Internal Comms Podcast with a bang this week, as Sally Susman takes to the hot seat for her second appearance. Sally is Executive Vice President an...

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Episode 84 – Ethics in action: Insights from a global compliance leader

July 12, 2023

In modern business, integrity is non-negotiable. As legislation ramps up in lockstep with colleague and customer demands, operating an ethical business in line with global regula...

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Episode 83 – ESG: How IC can drive the agenda

June 28, 2023

Define ESG… Well, it stands for environment, social and governance. But can you really define what ESG actually is? Put very simply, ESG is a set of criteria used to evaluate a ...

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Episode 82 – The truth about resilience

May 31, 2023

It seems everyone’s talking about resilience, the ability to bounce back from misfortune or adversity. But as Bruce Daisley explains to host Katie Macaulay, there’s something w...

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Episode 81 – Unilever: Inside a global success story

May 17, 2023

With over 130,000 colleagues, and a 100-year history, Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies. And this week on the Internal Comms Podcast, we get a peek ...

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Episode 80 – The inside track on comms at Mercedes F1

May 3, 2023

“The days we fail are the days our competitors live to regret,” said the late, great Niki Lauda. And that’s what this episode of the Internal Comms Podcast is all about. Thi...

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Episode 79 – Lifting the lid on comms consultancy

April 19, 2023

Ever considered what it takes to become an effective communications consultant? Then this week’s episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is for you. Host Katie Macaulay welcomes Si...

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Episode 78 – Comms with courage

April 5, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes Audacity’s Jason Anthoine. Jason has spent three decades working in internal communication, employee experie...

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Episode 77 – Here for the culture

March 22, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes culture-chameleon Shane Hatton. Shane is many things – author, international speaker, trainer, leadership co...

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Episode 76 – Employee experience: For the people by the people

March 8, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes Nicholas Wardle. Nicholas is Head of Employee Experience at Brand Experiences, and co-author of ‘Monetising ...

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Episode 75 – Inside the world’s most famous corner shop

February 22, 2023

This week on The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay welcomes Sam Bleazard. Sam’s role as Employer Brand Content Producer takes him behind the scenes of ‘the world’s ...

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Episode 74 – Culture with sticking power

February 8, 2023

The Internal Comms Podcast is back for Season 9! To kick off this season, we welcomed BizJuicer’s Andy Goram to the hot seat. Andy’s passion for building businesses ‘from t...

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Season 8: In the rear view mirror

February 1, 2023

With Season 9 of The Internal Comms Podcast right around the corner, host Katie Macaulay has taken the opportunity to reflect on the wisdom and insight shared over our latest seaso...

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Episode 73 – Forging your own path

December 21, 2022

The season 8 finale features Jennifer Thomas, Head of Communications for the Data & Analytics branch of the London Stock Exchange Group. Born in London to Guyanese parents, Jennif...

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Episode 72 – Making your way to the top

December 7, 2022

Episode 72 of The Internal Comms Podcast sees host Katie Macaulay joined by Adrian Cropley, CEO and founder of Cropley Communication and the Centre for Strategic Communication Exce...

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Episode 71 – Effective comms starts with knowing yourself

November 23, 2022

This week’s guest on The Internal Comms Podcast is Joanna Parsons, Head of Internal Communications & Culture at Teamwork. Joanna made Irish history as the first ever Head of Inte...

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Episode 70 – Reaching across the aisle

November 9, 2022

Shelby Scarbrough, author of 'Civility Rules! Creating a Purposeful Practice of Civility', shares her deep insight and experience ‘reaching across the aisle’ on episode 70 of T...

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Episode 69 – Measuring what matters – actions not feelings

October 26, 2022

Episode 69 of The Internal Comms Podcast sees IC heavyweight Mike Klein return to the hot seat. An internal and social communication consultant based out of Reykjavik, Mike is help...

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Episode 68 – Host in the hot seat: Reflections on 250,000 plays

October 12, 2022

In this very special episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, the tables have turned. Katie Macaulay is in the hot seat, and AB’s Senior Content Editor Freddie Reynolds takes over ...

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Episode 67 – The ABC of research: Ask, believe, change

September 28, 2022

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay invites qualitative research expert Mari Lee to sit in the hot seat. Mari’s specialism is in ‘development com...

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Episode 66 – Combatting IC isolation

September 14, 2022

The Internal Comms Podcast is back for what promises to be an incredible Season 8! In this kick-off episode, host Katie Macaulay welcomes ICology’s Vice President of Community an...

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Season 7: The rewind episode

September 7, 2022

The countdown is on, and The Internal Comms Podcast will be returning from its summer break with Season 8 imminently. And while its eighth instalment promises wisdom unbound from a...

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Episode 65 – Remote but not unreachable

June 22, 2022

In the final episode of season 7 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks with Lily Goodman D’Amato, Delivery Trainer at US-based digital pharmacy Medly. Lily b...

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Episode 64 – Releasing your inner sceptic

June 8, 2022

In the latest episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks with Martin Flegg, founder and co-owner of The IC Citizen internal communications consultancy. With...

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Episode 63 – Lessons in leadership

May 25, 2022

In episode 63 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay meets Mike Roe, who had a 28-year career in the police force and is now CEO of Tensense, a data insights company. ...

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Episode 62 – Textbook IC: rewriting comms for a new era

May 11, 2022

In the latest episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks with the duo who wrote the book on internal communications – literally. Sue Dewhurst has worked i...

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Episode 61 – Embracing the messiness of being human

April 27, 2022

In this week’s episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay sits down with Victoria Dew, founder and CEO of Dewpoint Communications. Her firm is focused on helping ...

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Episode 60 – How to have better conversations

April 13, 2022

In this week’s episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay sits down with Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres, co-authors of Conversations Worth Having, Using Apprecia...

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Episode 59 – Strategy & IC: A masterclass in collaboration

March 30, 2022

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaluay looks into the dynamic between internal comms and strategy – at its best a symbiotic relationship that drives t...

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Episode 58 – The state of IC: what’s behind the numbers?

March 16, 2022

In episode 58 of The Internal Comms Podcast, we dissect the results of the latest State of the Sector report, the definitive global survey of the internal communication landscape, ...

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Episode 57 – Unboxing internal comms at IKEA

March 2, 2022

In episode 57 of The Internal Comms Podcast, listeners can take a peek inside the world of IC at IKEA, as host Katie Macaulay chats with a dynamic duo from the multinational furnit...

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Episode 56 – IC at the sharp end

February 16, 2022

In this first episode of season 7 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to Jim Shaffer, an internationally recognised business adviser, leadership coach, author ...

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Leading Lights – Highlights From Season 6

February 9, 2022

Get ready to tune in to our next season of The Internal Comms Podcast. While Season 7 promises an amazing array of guests, this special episode highlights some of the best moments ...

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Episode 55 – Mission Possible

December 1, 2021

In the final episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay speaks to Sally Susman, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Pfizer. ...

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Episode 54 – Brain care: Mastering your mind

November 17, 2021

In the sixth episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to Phil Dobson, founder of BrainWorkshops and author of The Brain Book: How to Think and W...

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Episode 53 – Suicide Prevention: Reflecting on an award-winning campaign

November 3, 2021

***The content in this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast may be triggering for those who have experience of suicide.*** In the fourth episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms...

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Episode 52 – How do you create comms with purpose?

October 20, 2021

In the fourth episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay catches up with Maliha Aqeel, Director of Global Communications and Digital Channels at Fix Net...

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Episode 51 – Why are we here? How purpose and values drive healthy cultures

October 6, 2021

In the third episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay catches up with communications expert and IABC Fellow Jane Mitchell. Jane began her career with...

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Episode 50 – A guru’s guide to internal podcasts

September 22, 2021

In the second episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to Brian Landau, an authority in podcasting and expert on all things audio content creati...

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Episode 49 – Engagement: how it started, how it's going

September 8, 2021

In this first episode of season 6 of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay talks to the father of employee engagement, organisational psychologist Professor William Kahn....

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Industry experts – highlights from Season 5

September 1, 2021

The curtain is about to go up on the new season of The Internal Comms Podcast, with some fantastic guests joining host Katie Macaulay to talk about all things communication. For t...

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Episode 48 – Changing minds: using behavioural science in IC

May 12, 2021

It has always been Katie Macaulay’s goal for The Internal Comms Podcast to help improve the way organisations communicate with their people, and this week she does so by explorin...

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Episode 47 – Conversation with a comms rebel

April 28, 2021

Katie Macaulay’s guest this week is a leading light in efforts to advance the careers of under-represented groups in IC. Advita Patel is a qualified coach, mentor, public speake...

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Episode 46 – Influential Internal Communication

April 14, 2021

This episode sees the return of the brilliant business communications strategist, international public speaker and podcast host Jenni Field. The immediate past chair of the Charte...

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Episode 45 – Sharing the magic

March 31, 2021

The life and career of this week’s guest has been a literal roller coaster. Mark Webb fell into PR and media relations by chance, after spotting a job ad for the new Eurodisney ...

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Episode 44 – How to prove your presence

March 17, 2021

Katie Macaulay’s guest for episode 44 of The IC Podcast is Canadian comms expert Prarthna Thakore. After beginning her career in Calgary and then moving to London, Prarthna has ...

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Episode 43 – Kate Jones on the state of our sector

March 3, 2021

Every year since 2008, internal comms pros have responded to the Gallagher State of the Sector report. Because it’s been running for 13 years, and because similar questions are a...

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Episode 42 – Once Upon A Time In IC

February 17, 2021

Katie Macaulay kicks off Season 5 of The IC Podcast with a riveting conversation with business storytelling specialist Gabrielle Dolan. Gabrielle is a highly sought-after internat...

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Looking back, looking forward: highlights from Season 4

February 10, 2021

With the new season of The Internal Comms Podcast just around the corner, we wanted to whet your appetite with a selection of the best bits from Season 4. For this special best-of...

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Episode 41 – At the heart of the crisis: NHS comms during Covid-19

December 23, 2020

The NHS has never been far from our hearts and minds over the last few months. As the national jewel in the UK’s crown, the National Health Service has battled many difficulties ...

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Episode 40 – Founding fathers – building the first IC agency

December 17, 2020

What prompted the creation of the first IC agency back in 1964 and what convinced those first chief executives that they needed external help communicating with their employees? W...

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Coming soon in season 4

December 9, 2020

Coming soon in season 4 of The Internal Comms Podcast

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Episode 39 – Evidence-based IC

November 25, 2020

Recent research shows measurement is particularly challenging for many internal comms professionals. Katie’s guest on this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is Benjamin Ellis...

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Episode 38 – The secret thoughts of successful people

November 11, 2020

Amid the turmoil of 2020, with IC pros thrown into the spotlight as we strive to keep colleagues informed and connected, it’s not surprising that many of us are feeling a degree ...

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Episode 37 – The art of negotiation

October 28, 2020

If you want to take your communication skills to the next level, then this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast is for you. Katie’s guest is a formidable negotiator and expert ...

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Episode 36 – Navigating the digital landscape

October 14, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast we meet digital expert Frank Wolf. Frank spent seven years as a business consultant at Accenture. Then at T Mobile, he was responsible...

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Episode 35 – How to do less, but do it better

September 30, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast we meet Steve Crescenzo, a witty, straight-talking and charismatic speaker, workshop leader and coach from Chicago, USA, who has spent...

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Episode 34 – Cross-cultural comms

September 16, 2020

The Internal Comms Podcast is now in its fourth season – and to kick it off Katie sat down with Tasneem Chopra for some honest and open conversation. The self-styled “professi...

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Choice cuts: highlights from Season 3 of The IC Podcast

September 2, 2020

Before the curtain lifts on Season 4 of The IC Podcast, we wanted to leave you with some food for thought from Season 3. And what a season it was; we had a whole host of remarkabl...

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Episode 33 – IC’s founding father

July 8, 2020

The goal of this podcast is to bring you meaningful, in-depth conversations with people who are helping to shape the world of internal communication: practitioners, leaders, author...

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Episode 32 – Leadership in unprecedented times

June 24, 2020

President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), Jenni Field has more than 16 years’ experience in communications. She is the founder and director of Redefining C...

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Episode 31 – What's next? IABC roundtable on the impact of Coronavirus

June 10, 2020

The Internal Comms Podcast has gone truly global with our latest episode featuring three speakers from three countries. In episode 31 Katie tables a roundtable discussion with Jen...

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Episode 30 – Your biggest, best, boldest self

May 27, 2020

Chief Executive of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), Adriènne Kelbie has an exceptional understanding of the true power of communication and engagement. The first woman to ...

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Episode 29 – Crisis communication at the coalface

May 13, 2020

Katie’s guest this week is someone who is no stranger to crisis communication. Amanda Coleman was the Director of Corporate Communication at Greater Manchester Police when, on M...

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Episode 28 – The Godfather of IC

April 29, 2020

Katie’s guest this week is one of the world’s leading authorities on internal comms and the management of change: Bill Quirke. As managing director of IC consultancy Synopsis,...

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Episode 27 – Stepping up in a Crisis

April 14, 2020

This week Katie speaks to renowned communicator Shel Holtz. As listeners continue to grapple with keeping workforces informed, galvanised and feeling connected during the corona cr...

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Episode 26 – How to thrive in IC (Part II)

April 1, 2020

This episode is recorded as the majority of the UK is in lockdown while the country attempts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie Macaulay’s guest, Rachel Miller...

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Episode 25 – Crisis Communications: Covid-19 Special

March 25, 2020

Katie Macaulay recorded this special episode on Friday 20 March 2020 in response to the rapidly developing situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Her guests to talk all thin...

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Episode 24 – A view from the top

March 18, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, Katie puts her first CEO in the hotseat: Marc Barone. Marc is chief executive for continental Europe at AECOM. This Fortune 500 comp...

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Episode 23 – Courage, confidence and communication

March 4, 2020

In this episode of The Internal Comms Podcast Katie talks to one of world’s most qualified communicators, Priya Bates, from Canada. Priya has an Accredited Business Communicator...

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Episode 22 – State of the Sector

February 19, 2020

State of the Sector is the longest-established and most in-depth survey of the internal communication profession, based on responses from more than 1,000 professionals around the w...

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Episode 21 – The cheerleader for IC

February 5, 2020

During Seasons One and Two we covered a lot of ground in IC and beyond. As we begin Season Three, brace yourself for more fascinating insights as we delve into the very heart of co...

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The highlight reel – nuggets of wisdom from Season 1 and 2 of The IC Podcast

January 29, 2020

Since the launch of The Internal Comms Podcast, host Katie Macaulay has interviewed more than 20 fascinating guests from the world of IC and beyond. Now, as we gear up for Season ...

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Episode 20 – Advocacy in action

December 18, 2019

Katie’s guest this week is Keith Lewis, UK Social Media and Social Business Manager for Zurich Insurance – one of the world’s largest insurance groups with 55,000 employees i...

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Episode 19 – The appliance of neuroscience

December 4, 2019

Katie Macaulay’s guest this week is a neuroscientist with extensive experience in the field of organisational change. Hilary Scarlett began studying the brain in 2009 after read...

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Episode 18 – Editing organisations

November 20, 2019

In this episode we get up close and personal with someone who helps improve the way we communicate at work. Mike Klein worked as a political consultant in the US, but for the past...

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Episode 17 – Black Belt Thinking

November 6, 2019

As individuals, this week’s guests have impressive CVs. Sue Dewhurst is an experienced internal communicator who, for many years, has been training and coaching thousands of lea...

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Episode 16 – A Passage to India

October 23, 2019

With this podcast now reaching listeners in 50 countries worldwide, host Katie Macaulay has chosen to go international for this episode. Her guest is creative services entrepreneu...

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Episode 15 – The Power of Two

October 8, 2019

This week, Katie meets Claire Hyde and Louise Wadman, joint heads of IC at KPMG UK. Possibly the most senior IC job share in the country, Claire and Louise have more than 45 years...

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Episode 14 – How to start a movement

September 24, 2019

Katie’s guest this episode is Nita Clarke – whose services to employee engagement have earned her an OBE from the Queen. Nita has a long and fascinating career. She co-authore...

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Episode 13 – A check-up with the IC doctor

September 11, 2019

The Internal Comms Podcast is back with a new series of fortnightly conversations with leading lights from the world of internal communications, engagement and leadership. AB Mana...

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Season 02 Trailer

September 6, 2019

Season two of The Internal Comms Podcast is almost here!

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Episode 12 – Listen and learn: insights from 30 years in IC

July 24, 2019

In this extra special bonus episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, the tables are turned on Katie as she takes the spotlight as an interviewee. Posing the searching questions is J...

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Episode 11 – Putting the soul back into Patisserie Valerie

June 25, 2019

For this special bonus episode of The IC Podcast, Katie interviewed Paolo Peretti, Managing Retail Director of Patisserie Valerie, in front of a live audience at AB Thinks Live, ou...

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Episode 10 – Internal comms at the sharp end - recorded at IoIC live

May 21, 2019

For the final episode of season one, Katie Macaulay travels to Bath for IoIC Live and interviews two of the conference’s speakers, Martin Fitzpatrick and Matt Batten. Both Marti...

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Episode 09 – How to win colleagues and influence people

May 7, 2019

Social influencer marketing is a new and rapidly growing means of getting your message out to your audience. It’s changed the face of advertising and has everyone from up-to-the-...

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Episode 08 – The Joy of Work

April 23, 2019

Katie’s guest this week is an extremely versatile communicator. In his day job as European Vice President of Twitter, Bruce Daisley has overseen the development of one of the wor...

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Episode 07 – What social purpose (really) means

April 9, 2019

Running the UK’s largest retail and financial services network with more branches than all of the UK’s banks and building societies put together, the Post Office is at the hear...

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Episode 06 – The craft of communication

March 27, 2019

In episode six, Katie travels beyond the boundaries of internal comms to find out how to write more engagingly, tell better stories and use humour to deliver your message. And who ...

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Episode 05 – Learning comms lessons from PR

March 13, 2019

In episode five, Katie aims to find out what internal communications can learn from external communications. So she sits down with ‘mister public relations’, Stephen Waddington...

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Episode 04 – What it means to be the voice of IC

February 27, 2019

The Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) is the voice of the IC profession – dedicated to strengthening confidence, credibility and community. And on 12 March, the IoIC cel...

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Episode 03 – What the State of the Sector report means for IC

February 13, 2019

Episode three lands as Gatehouse’s latest State of the Sector report is published. Katie invites Jenni Field, a tireless, high-profile personality of the IC landscape, to discus...

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Episode 02 – What it takes to be an IC leader

January 30, 2019

Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with internal communications, Katie’s guest in episode two will no doubt be a name you recognise. In a career spanning 30 years, Russell G...

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Episode 01 – How to thrive in IC

January 16, 2019

In the first episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, Katie meets Rachel Miller – a prolific blogger, educator, keynote speaker and one of the most respected voices in internal com...

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January 11, 2019

An introduction to the new Internal Comms Podcast.

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