By Emily Wilson
So sings Morrissey: “Hang the blessed DJ / Because the music that they constantly play/ It says nothing to me about my life”. Panic has become my battle cry, my mantra. It’s not because I’m overwhelmed, or because of its gorgeous, jangly guitars, but because of how it embodies the reason why I work in Internal Communications.
Let me explain. Morrissey and Johnny Marr wrote Panic after listening to a news report about the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, or so the story goes. The report detailed the horrific implications of nuclear fallout; it was no longer just conjecture. Then, immediately after the report ended, the DJ played Wham’s I’m your man. Marr remembers thinking (in more colourful language) “What does this have to do with me? What does this song have to do with people’s lives?” They went on to write Panic, imploring listeners to “hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ”.
Panic reminds me that there are always human beings involved in any communication. The role of Internal Communications is be the claxon, the conscience of the organisation and communicate not with a digital brick wall, but with people. We need to be conscious of the proverbial nuclear disaster like change fatigue or redundancies, but we also need to amplify where the business can make people’s work lives easier and happier and where they can empower better balance, recognising there is life outside of the office.
Our role is a compassionate, empathetic one. The best tool is listening; the best channel is a broad range of relationships throughout the organisation. The best message is honesty. The opportunities are so much greater, the engagement possibilities so much higher if our audiences are treated like people who are spoken to like adults who can (because they will) see through propaganda.
While we vie for attention in this overloaded world of ours and work out how IC fits into organisations, The Smiths remind me why I do what I do and gives me an enormous sense of purpose to be involved in the industry. So, if it helps you too, remember the story about the DJ, sing the song, make an inspirational postcard, just remember, we, in Internal Communications, are in a privileged position to drive human-driven messages and remind organisations of their commitment to the people who work there by acting as empathetic advisors, the conscience.
Emily is an internal communications executive at Norton Rose Fulbright. She has worked in a variety of professional services roles and specialises in creative, practical communications.
Image courtesy of flickr user Jupshaw Upshaw