Changing the Conversation About Communication with Advita Patel S2 Ep4

Changing the Conversation About Communication with Advita Patel S2 Ep4

About Advita

Advita has worked in internal communications for the past 14 years in various industries including Healthcare, Education, Energy and Transport. As Director of CommsRebel, Advita believes a little bit of rebelliousness can make a big difference to the way we deliver internal comms. She’s worked in areas such as Employee Engagement, Digital, Change and Transformational communications. Her area of specialism is developing innovative ideas, to help improve communications, with hard to reach workers based in large operational organisations. 

Advita is also the founder of networking group The Comms Hive, which brings together communication professionals so they can share and learn knowledge from each other over an informal dinner. 

Advita is a chartered PR professional and Chair of the CIPR Inside committee. She was named on the Northern Power Future List for her contribution to the work she has done within communications. In 2018 she was awarded a Fellowship by CIPR for her outstanding work in the communications community.

Podcasts make your journey interesting

[3:10] Advita immediately shares her enthusiasm for podcasts and tells us that, as she’s just setting up her new business, Comms Rebel, she’s particularly enjoying podcasts about marketing, social media and building a business.

It’s always helpful to learn a broad range of content, to get fresh perspectives. Podcasts are an ideal way to explore other topics particularly as they are generally free.

[5:30] Advita considers podcasts to be a channel most people feel they are in control of, which suits the current emphasis on personal choice over content.

The role of podcasts in internal communication

[6:25] Podcasts definitely have a place in internal communication; they provide you with a new, different way to contact your colleagues and share insight into your business. Advita has been building the capability to make podcasts and audio content in the company she’s currently supporting.

[8:45] Advita feels more case studies and examples of in-house podcasts would be helpful for the whole communications community to learn from. It would also be great to see people put their podcast strategies into action with more confidence.

How can we make things different?

[10:00] Advita likes to consider how to keep her communications interesting and new for the colleagues in the organisations she supports. She thinks the barriers that seem to exist between senior leaders and the rest of the employees in a company could be broken by sharing more authentic voices through audio.

Corporate videos can often seem too long and formal, where a podcast can feel more like a conversation. This enables the listener to get to know more about the individuals presenting through audio than they may through more formal video content. At a time where trust-building in leaders and companies is critical, this is worth considering.

Podcasting from Inside

[13:44] As chair of CIPR Inside, Advita has been exploring the possibility of sharing content for members through audio. She’s conscious that only a small proportion of members currently access the content shared online or through social media.

Podcasts seem to offer the potential to provide updates and learning material to a wider pool of members, particularly practitioners who are struggling for budget. There’s also a lot of experience and expertise in the committee and membership Advita would like to share more widely.

#ChangingTheConvo Conference

[16:05] CIPR Inside are holding a conference dedicated to internal communicators this year. It will be hosted in Birmingham (UK) on 8 October 2019.

Advita recently shared a picture online of presentation from 1997, summarising the main challenges for internal communicators at that time. She’s disappointed to note they are the same issues communicators are still struggling with and she’s frustrated by the sense that the conversation is not moving on at all.

The conference is designed to shake that up, provide some action-led learning and inspiration to encourage communicators to change the conversation in their industries. Advita’s aiming to see more internal communications professionals build their role as trusted advisors to their senior leaders and achieve more senior positions themselves.

Top Tips for an in-house podcast

[19:40] Before starting an in-house podcast, Advita thinks you should consider whether it really is needed. You can do this by speaking to your colleagues and leaders as much as possible, to understand what it could achieve. Don’t be tempted to do it just because it’s a shiny new thing. Be really clear how it will add value.

It’s important to consider how you will host and distribute your podcast and whether you need to constrain it to an in-house audience. You’ll also need to plan out how to raise people’s awareness that the podcast is available and how they can access it.

 “Treat it like any other new channel you may be thinking about bringing in – make sure you do the relevant research behind it first, and get skilled up”

Advita recommends finding someone who can teach you the skills you need to start podcasting and help you work out what it means for your business.

How measurement will help you 

[22:00] Aware of the reality of budget constraints, Advita is passionate about the importance of good measurement in communications generally. Measuring the outcomes of your work helps you demonstrate the value you’re adding to your company. This will help you gain more attention and budget for your future plans.

Give your colleagues a choice

[22:50] Advita is keen that communicators move away from broadcasting information, to encourage more two-way conversation and greater choice for colleagues.

“People expect a choice these days; not everybody absorbs information in the same way.”

Giving plenty of choice and options is an important aspect of a communicator’s role. Find out what your people really want.

The Comms Hives

[25:30] Advita hosts popular ‘Comms Hive’ dinners, where communications professionals can meet to talk informally and learn from each other, over a meal. It’s become incredibly popular and is a testament to Advita’s dedication to serving the communications community. Comms Hives now happen all over the UK, with a few international meetings squeezed in.

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more about Advita,  follow her on Twitter @Advita_p or @CommsRebel. You are welcome to drop her a DM if you want to know more about the CIPR; Comms Rebel; or joining a Comms Hive.

You can find out more about the CIPR Inside’s #ChangingTheConvo conference here.

Share your story

If you’d like to share your story about in-house podcasting, or building audio into your internal communications strategy, please get in touch.  You can find me on Twitter @debbieaurelius or @peppermintfishc, or drop me an email – I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you to Alix Pickles for editing support with this episode.

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