When internal comms gets scary

It’s the time of year for spooks and ghouls, of scary stories and spine chilling moments. As we head bravely into the darkness of Hallowe’en we asked a few IC fiends to share their worst fears and cringe-worthy stories from their careers in internal comms.

Everything you read below has happened, does happen and could happen to you… All the names have been removed to protect the innocent…

Top 13 scary internal comms moments that shouldn’t happen to a comms professional (but often do)

1.Zombie leaders – ‘night of the dead’ the ones who look at you when you’re explaining your internal comms strategy and what you need from them – their face says they’re alive, but their eyes are telling a different story – at best they are not listening to word you’re saying, at worst they are just wondering when you are going to print that poster for the toilets they gave you the content for. Run for the hills.


2. Zombie team members – ‘dawn of the dead’. They came to the interview, they gave you a good talk, they seemed like they would be great, but by day one on the job you’re already wondering if they are actually alive or dead… Choose your team wisely. Give them the right challenges during interview and ask powerful questions to be sure you have the best person for the job who will back you up, use the tools well and deliver the goods.


3. Zombie team members – ‘day of the dead’. You’ve been carrying them, hoping they’d get better. They don’t, so have the confidence to let them go. Don’t dither, be fair, be honest and get to the point.


scary internal comms


4. The silent scream. When you scream but no one hears you. You can hear the words in your head, ‘No, we don’t just send emails to the whole business about a cake sale…’ but no one hears you and still they think you are the post room that delivers the news… Show them you’re more than that.


5. The Book of Death. The biggest scariest looking black book of garbled words and data has just landed on your desk. You don’t know where it came from or who wrote it. But your challenge is to read it, understand it, turn it into something everyone else understands and wants to really get involved in, by midnight. Go!


6. The maze of measurement – just thinking about picking your way through the many different routes you could take to get to your safe house brings you out in a cold sweat. Take one step at a time, be methodical and keep your eye on the goal.


7. As you step into a room full of people who you need to trust you and take you and your ideas seriously, you realise your shirt is blood stained… (replace with food / drink / ink – why didn’t you eat lunch earlier or go for food that’s not so messy?)


8. You’re in that huge room, surrounded by zombies (see above) and your weapon of choice fails (read as projector / laptop / phone line / WIFI / screens….) You are left stranded with all eyes on you as you frantically fumble to fix the kit and get out of this situation and can breathe again.


9. You’ve spent hours preparing your weapons (read as content / channels) in your safe house. They are perfect, you’ve checked every nook, every cranny and trap door. Every last word has been proofed… Yeah, except that one, that one that slipped passed everyone’s nose and now sits proudly centre page taunting you.


10. Oops, you’ve just let off the flare (email to the wrong distribution list) telling everyone, including all the ghouls, where you are!!! Hang your head in shame as you shout at the computer silently ‘Nooooo…’


11. Running, often in the wrong footwear, to save the day!!! Collect food / print / supplies because someone let you down (who set off that flare?) and now you have to run the gauntlet at the 11th hour to survive.



12. You’re challenged to escape the city in style, with just £3.50 and a stick of chewing gum in your pocket, and a broken down Hummer with no fuel parked outside. Meanwhile a zombie hoard is baying for quality corporate goodies and the head honcho wants you to create the biggest flashiest presentation / event / party known to humankind once you escape. Go! again…


13. Challenging the zombies (see number one) and saying ‘No’ can be really scary. Facing up to the challenge, arming yourself with knowledge to back you up to be able to say ‘no’ with authority makes it less so.


Remember, the nice guys and girls always survive the night. So often people think they need to be tough and ruthless to get ahead in business but no one likes a mean person (they’re always the first for the chop in any scary movie) and it’s always the good guys who come through in the end.

Got any scary internal comms moments you’d like to share with us for Hallowe’en? Drop us an email at ciprinside@gmail.com or comment below.

Don’t forget to get all your zombie fighting and survival work rewarded with the #insidestory awards – you have just 21 days until the first DEADline… Get those entries in by 20 November, or 27 November if you just can’t escape the hoards in time for the first date.

Image credits: Featured image – zombie uprising, shutterstock. When internal comms gets scary – created using Canva.

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