POOR communication is the justification for many flubs, mistakes and failures. Without strong internal communication, leadership and staff are on different pages.

Imagine the problems in a service industry, where leaders promise a specific service, and staff are unaware of this policy change.

Next thing you know, customers are complaining about the deliverable. Due to poor internal communication, the company now has a public relations problem.

So what are some ways companies can improve internal communication?

Talking through technology

E-mail is as standard as a telephone these days for internal communication. However, one-sided written instructions or guidance is not ideal with complex issues or products.

Staff may also be reluctant to respond with questions, because they perceive it could become a record used against them. Instead, leaders frequently receive an acknowledgement e-mail, and the employee begins work without clarity.

The solution is to encourage communication beyond e-mail:

* Remind staff to seek face-to-face communication with clients, colleagues and management;

* Try out an internal instant messaging system so employees can talk electronically in real time; and

* When sending instructions by e-mail, ask staff to respond with the instructions in their own words. This is similar to the verbal communication technique of repeating what you heard before you give a response.

Break through segmentation

The nature of companies is that they thrive on delegation of tasks. Individual departments and workers are responsible for a specific piece of the puzzle, so to speak.

However, issues arise and decisions made at the lowest level impact the overall result. If your employees are unaware of the big picture, they will make these decisions in the dark.

To overcome the divisions impeding communication:

* Hold meetings with all staff related to a product or service. Answer the questions of “what” and “why” for the entire team;

* Ask for input from staff about challenges in their role. Try to let the team brainstorm and problem-solve together; and

* Consider open-office environments to foster cooperation rather than private work efforts.

Once internal communication is at its best, your external marketing plan will become stronger. Your public relations team can count on each employee to be a subject-matter expert.

With this wealth of information, the marketing team creates a perfect campaign for your organisation or product line. Robust internal communication minimises disconnects in the reality of your organisation’s deliverable, the campaign used to promote it, and the experiences and perceptions of your clientele.