3 Expert Tips from Strategic Internal Communicators at the ALI Conference

February 5, 2020

What happens when you ask three internal communicators their thoughts on 2020 industry trends and best practices? You get nothing short of brilliance! 

Last week I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at ALI’s Strategic Internal Communications Conference in San Francisco. My panelists were Jessica Brubaker (Director, Initiative Communications & Channel Strategy at McDonald’s), Laney Erokan (Employee Experience Lead at Blend), and Jess Bauer (Senior Manager, Internal Communications at Slack). 

Together, we dove into the biggest challenges internal communicators are facing and how they’ve solved them. Here are the top 3 themes that they shared with us: 


Whether it’s collecting anecdotal feedback after All Hands meetings or analyzing engagement survey results in detail, smart internal communicators are using metrics and insights to drive their decisions

Even though most of us internal communicators are more accustomed to being storytellers (with words and visuals!), we know the importance of telling a story with numbers because a data story is what catches the attention of our CEO and CFO.


Our panelists work in vastly different companies and industries. Still, they all reinforced the importance of truly embracing inclusion and demonstrating empathy for their people—especially if they have several offices around the globe or work with a large remote population. 

Inclusion can take on many forms. It may mean that the location of your All Hands meetings rotates between offices so they’re not always happening in your headquarters. Inclusion can also mean that you’re ruthlessly targeting all of your messages so that the right people are consuming information that’s relevant to them. 

No matter how you choose to unify and integrate your people into your company culture, smart internal communicators are keeping all perspectives (and time zones!) in mind.


Responding to what’s happening in our world is quite the challenge for all of us. But one thing is clear: if you’re going to speak up and weigh in on an issue, be fast. 

Let’s say it’s a matter of health and/or safety or the death of someone who made a huge difference in your customers’ lives, there’s nothing worse than taking days to respond. So, how can you react fast? 

First, decide when you’ll take a stand publicly as a company. Be choosy—by trying to respond to everything, you won’t come across as passionate about anything. From there, build a plan and be sure to socialize it. This way you’ll be prepared when the next crisis happens and can move into action quickly. 

Need help tackling any of these challenges?

We’re here for you! Thanks again to our amazing panelists for sharing their brilliance with us. You rock!

For more bite-sized brilliance, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, the Inkwell, and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Kate Brinkerhoff Angus

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