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How to be a trusted internal communications advisor to the CEO

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The days of the Internal Communications (IC) department producing the company newsletter are long gone. Today, the IC team has a varied role that should be as broad as it is deep. Newsletters should still be on the asset list along with a plethora of tactics, strategies, behaviours and beliefs.

A good IC professional should be a valued and trusted adviser to the CEO and Executive Leadership team rather than just a generator of content.

So how does that happen?

5 steps to create trust

1. Know your trade and, be the very best you can be.

It sounds obvious but its vital.  Don’t be a puff generator, don’t be a theory spouter and don’t be a bragger about the past. If you know your trade, you will speak with both experience and instinct; a powerful combination that will resonate with your Board.

2. Know your colleagues.

You are the invisible thermometer, the blood pressure gauge, the drip tray at the coffee machine.  It’s critical that you know what your colleagues are talking about, how they feel and what they believe to be. And you need to know all that without any filters – know their truth.

3. Be brave.

You have to be able to deliver ‘bad news’ to your CEO and Leadership team.  You are the one who has to tell the truth – a message hasn’t landed and why, an opportunity was missed in a Town Hall and why. Hold your courage, tell it like it is and always, always offer up a fix.

4. Be patient.

It takes time for us humans to trust one another.  Just because you are brilliant at what you do, just because you know your colleagues and you are brave, does not mean your CEO and Leadership team will trust you implicitly from Day One. Trust yourself, be consistent, be patient, earn their trust.

5. Know your limits.

No one can do everything. And never let that stop you.  Know what you have the resources and capability to do and get help, support and additional expertise when you need to do more. External support extends your team, your creativity, your success and your ability to make a real difference to your business, your colleagues and your Board.

It’s not about you.  It’s about them. Your CEO and team have their own priorities and know this – not one of them is IC. Never forget this.  And always create ways in which IC can help make their priorities real. You won’t be a trusted function if you only focus on making a good impression.

However, if you focus on always using IC to positively impact the business, you will become a trusted advisor to the CEO and Leadership team.

For any extra information or support. Please contact the office by phone 01252 717707 or email


Caroline Edmonds

Author Caroline Edmonds

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