Key-note from Sarah Larvor – National Grid

The 12th Annual Internal Communication Conference was a packed day. The conference room was a buzz with conversations, and sharing.


We’ve got lots of notes to share so to kick off, Marsha Van Moorsel, a CIPR Inside committee member and Internal Communication Officer at the Royal Institute of British Architects has shared her notes from the key-note speech:

“Sarah Larvor delivered the key-note speech for the Annual Internal communications, conference and set the scene for the day with this question:

Is there a future for internal communication?

That’s a big and thought-provoking question for anyone who works in internal communication.

While Internal comms started out as a separate function sitting alongside HR, it has slowly evolved to become the profession (or discipline) that it is today. And that role can be very different across different organisations.

Harvard and other schools started doing research showing the correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, a bottom line benefit was clear and so the term employee engagement was coined.

But now we are all operating in a world where organisations cannot control the conversation. But we can try to influence it if we are skillful.

The traditional distinctions between audiences are redundant, and our messages now need to be consistent across all audiences.

The idea of “internal” is evaporating. We are left with just communication. – is a great example of an ‘internal comms’ channel that is completely open to everyone at any time online. There is restricted access to some areas such as booking holidays and contact directory but the news etc is viewable to everyone and anyone who finds it.

The National grid – an energy industry site is another example of blurred lines between channels.

The conventional approach to internal comms in it’s traditional form is doomed (i.e. managing internal comms as a separate entity with its own messages and channels, the just send out stuff style of internal comms etc)


We face a world of new realities:

1. Complexity needs simplicity

2. Consistency is king

3. Transparency, authenticity, alignment

4. Management must step up and be seen


So what do internal communicators need to do?

• Need to get in to all functions to see the full range of opportunities available within the organisation. Start thinking issues, show themselves as experts

• Think message: Is it honest, is it true, is it consistent?

• Be a bit paranoid

• Locate subject matter contacts now. Contact thought leaders.

• Silence is not an option


New focus:

• Think: Content, channels, relationships

• Find experts to create the right content

• Companies have to change the way they react and we have to lead on this

• Bright future for communicators with skills and insight but not in the traditional sense.

• Understand digital risk and security concerns, balanced with openness

• Understand management appraisal process in organisation, work with people who design performance management to include this proficiency


What do you think of these key points from Sarah Larvor’s keynote? Do you agree with the points made? Do you disagree? How will internal comms evolve in your organisation?

Share your views with us here. Or send us a blog post at

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  1. Pingback: All Things IC | Building the future of internal comms

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