Internal vs External Communication: All You Need to Know

Discover how the right internal and external communication tools and strategies can transform your organization.

August 22, 2023
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One of things that separates thriving organizations from surviving organizations is how effectively they communicate – both externally and internally.

Read on to discover everything you need to know to get both kinds of communication right across your organization. Plus, learn which tools will make it as easy as possible for your people to communicate seamlessly.

What is external communication?

External communication is any form of communication that’s intended for someone outside of an organization. This includes all a company’s marketing efforts, from your website to your social media posts to your sales calls. It also includes every bit of communication with vendors, customers, and clients.

Some common examples of external communications include:

  • An email informing all your customers about a new product update
  • A meeting with a potential client
  • A company social media post
  • A customer support call
  • A listing for a new role on your website

What is internal communication?

Internal communication takes place within an organization and isn’t shared publicly. This includes all conversations and messages between team members, departments, senior management, and staff.

Internal communications examples include:

Internal communication vs external communication

For most leaders, there’s a clear winner in the battle of internal vs external communication.

The majority of businesses spend a lot more time focused on their external communications than they do on how they communicate with their own people.

And that makes a lot of sense. 

After all, if you get your external communication strategy wrong you could drive away potential – and even existing – customers.

That being said, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of internal communication.

Here’s why:

The right internal communication strategy can increase productivity, boost employee engagement, reduce staff turnover, and ultimately improve your profit margins.

But to reap all those benefits you’ll need to empower your employees with the right internal communication software…

Does my organization need internal and external communication tools?

Communication platforms are the tools of the trade for today’s knowledge workers.

And you’ll be leaving untapped productivity on the table if you don’t arm your people with up-to-date communication tools

Here’s a quick look at the communication tools could help transform your business:

Knowledge base

A knowledge base houses all an organization’s important information, guidelines, and processes in a central hub. All that information is stored in the cloud, too. And makes it easy for your employees to access the most up-to-date version of the documents they need to do their jobs effectively. 

And since the average employee spends an incredible 5.3 hours waiting for information they need to progress a project they're working on each week, a knowledge base is one of the best internal communication tools for organizations to adopt.

Idea portal

An idea portal is another simple way to improve internal communication in an organization. It breaks down knowledge silos and makes it easy to collect, evaluate, and develop the best ideas your organization has to offer. 

Assembly’s idea portal is inspired by Amazon’s “working backwards” approach, where the tech titan’s product managers need to present their ideas in the form of an internal press release announcing a finished product. Implement our idea management flow and you’ll receive your people’s bright ideas in the form of a press release, helping make sure it’s connected to your customers’ needs.

Employee recognition tools

Employee recognition is a cornerstone of the most effective internal communications strategies.

Here’s why:

40% of American workers say they'd put more energy into their work if they were recognised more often.

And when they’re offered a simple tool that lets them, 44% of all workers regularly recognize their colleagues' hard work.

Empowering your people with tools like our free recognition and rewards software is a simple but effective way to take your internal communication plan to the next level.

CEO and Executive updates

80% of workers want to know more about how decisions are made in their company. And 87% would like more transparency from their organization in the future.

Which makes CEO and Executive updates one of the most effective types of internal communication at your disposal. Executive announcements make it easy to keep your employees in the loop with simple updates on your organization’s strategy and direction. 

Workplace news feed

Today, the best internal communication platforms include a workplace news feed.

This functions like a private social media feed that curates everything that’s going on in your organization – and allows your employees to comment on posts and react to them. This makes it an excellent tool for informing everyone about what is happening in the company in the most efficient and fun way.

Team feed

One of the most foundational internal communications best practices is to make sure all your organization’s important information is at the fingertips of everyone who needs access to it.

Creating a team feed for each department or project team in your business makes this as easy as possible. This will give each team a place to communicate and store critical information so they can also go back and track down what they need whenever they need it.

Contractor time tracking tools

One of the most important external communications to get right is how you communicate with freelancers, agencies, and vendors. 

A contractor time tracker is a simple way to make sure projects come in on time and within budget. It makes it easy to gather a historical outlook on the overall success and growth of the contractor, which helps you maximize the effort and time of the contractor to drive business goals.

Sales CRM

Sales are the lifeblood of your business. Which makes managing customer relationships an integral part of any successful external communications strategy. 

A sales CRM empowers your sales and marketing teams to access customers’ contacts and their information, navigate and understand the sales pipeline easily, and personalize it to fit their needs.

Product feedback surveys

Perhaps the most important external communication you’ll have with your clients or customers is gathering their feedback on your product or service.

And collecting all that feedback in a centralized hub is the most effective way to analyze it and then take action on it. Which is why a product feedback template – which simplifies the process of getting the actionable feedback you need from your clients and customers – is such a powerful external communication tool.

Employee surveys

​​Every employee has their own opinions about what their organization could be doing better. And the most successful businesses know gathering those opinions is the key to stronger engagement, lower staff turnover, and higher productivity.

You can start reaping those benefits by arming your people with:

  • Employee engagement and satisfaction surveys, which will help you get a sense of where you stand on these crucial metrics.
  • An employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) template, which will help you quickly and easily find out how employees feel about your business, its values, internal culture, and how likely they are to recommend it to others.
  • Employee pulse surveys, which will help you quickly take the pulse of how your people are feeling (which is particularly useful if you’ve just made a big change to the way you run your business).

Together, these simple internal communications tools can transform your business by revealing how your people truly feel about how you run things. 

Wrapping up

Fine tuning internal and external communication across your organization can transform its fortunes.

Arm your teammates with the full suite of modern external and internal communications software we’ve laid out here and they’ll have everything they need to work as efficiently – and communicate as effectively – as possible.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Employee recognition guide