Series two of our podcast Comms in a Nutshell launched recently and welcomes business communications strategist, author and founder of Redefining Communications, Jenni Field.
Jenni is an international speaker, author, podcaster and business communications strategist. She has worked in communications for almost 20 years, specialising in helping teams and leaders use communication to take people (and the organisation) from chaos to calm.
In the episode we discuss creating a place of psychological safety for employees, creating a culture that supports openness and feedback and how to make your comms and channels fully accessible.
So we thought we’d get to know Jenni more and have a chat with her about her experience in the world of internal communication, her views on the role of AI in internal communication and advice for people wanting to start out in the industry.
How did you end up with a career in internal communications?
“I started my career after my degree in marketing, my first role was as a communications assistant in local government. I did a bit of everything in the role, from media relations to internal communication. I loved media relations so went off and spent 18 months specialising in this in the corporate world before shifting to internal communications.”
“I wanted to do something that had a direct impact to those at work and felt that media relations wasn’t quite hitting that for me. I set up internal communication for an advertising company and from there I went to work in an internal communications agency as business development and marketing manager, then to internal communications manager for a food retail business in London where I stayed for six years, leaving as global head of communication. I then became communications director for a pharmaceutical business before setting up Redefining Communications, which is the communications consultancy I run today.”
“So, I ended up with a career in internal communications because I wanted to work in communications and PR but have an impact on the organisation and people in it. I have learnt the skills while doing the job and I’m qualified in internal communication, as well as being a chartered PR practitioner.”
What is your biggest achievement?
“I have to say it’s writing my first book, Influential Internal Communication, which was published in 2021 by Kogan Page and has sold nearly 2,000 copies worldwide.”
What role do you think AI has in the future of IC?
“I think we need to get data about our people right in organisations before we jump to look at the next shiny new tool! In all seriousness, I think we need to be mindful of the people who know how to use these tools without the ethics and professionalism needed to work in communications. I think they have a place to help people get started with writing content and to help with ideas, but they will never replace the advice, consultancy and strategic work we do as communicators.”
If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
“For being fun. I don’t want to take things too seriously and I believe life is to be embraced and lived to the fullest.”
What's one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in internal comms?
“My advice to anyone starting – network! Use LinkedIn, Instagram, events… whatever works for you and connect with people, ask for a coffee or a chat with those in the industry. It’s a really friendly space.”
If you could go back in time and speak to yourself when you started your IC career, what advice would you give?
“Going back in time, I would tell myself not to listen to those who tell you that you shouldn’t run before you can walk. Fly, and follow your gut.”
Thank you Jenni for sharing your experiences with us. You can connect with Jenni on LinkedIn and listen to her episode on Comms in a Nutshell here, where you will also find a whole host of resources.