How PR Pros Can Break Down Organizational Silos

internal comms

internal commsToday’s communicators need to practice a kind of integrated leadership that allows for collaboration and connection. In particular, they need to be proactive in forming bonds with marketers in their organizations, instead of engaging in turf warfare.

PR News' upcoming webinar, "Breaking Down the Silos Between Marketing and PR," will focus on this idea as it relates to marketing and public relations, functions which overlap while meeting different needs. The best brands find ways to break down the silos between the two, leading to better communications strategies. But it's not just PR and marketing that can engage with and learn from each other.

With that in mind, let's take a look at five tips to help you work with different people throughout your company, courtesy of Diane Gage Lofgren, senior vice president at Sharp HealthCare.

1. You’re only as smart as the conversations you’re in. To learn what is going on throughout the organization, place yourself in as many conversations and meetings as possible that are not related to communications. That way, you can learn firsthand about key initiatives and strategies.

2. Broaden your horizons. Expose yourself to a broad level of subjects in order to understand all aspects of a company’s brand. This means learning new technologies or trying different approaches to gain new insights.

3. Stop and listen. Sometimes we get so busy telling people what we need that we forget that they have something to say. GolinHarris CEO Fred Cook writes in his book, Improvise, about traveling through the Himalayas and meeting a man who introduced himself as the "Hippie Guru of Darjeeling." As the guru talked about his mastery of the spiritual world, Cook wanted to impress him with his own knowledge of Eastern religion and launched into a debate about an obscure English author. The guru responded with a left hook to Cook’s jaw. Cook writes that the incident taught him a valuable lesson: "If you’re not talking or texting, a miraculous thing happens—you actually hear what the other person is saying."

4. Invite people to meetings with no agenda. Meeting with leaders from various functions helps you learn about their areas of expertise. In a large organization, these are people we may see occasionally yet engage with primarily on conference calls. Meeting face-to-face with no particular agenda helps build relationships.

5. Build an entourage. You will not be successful without the support of your peers and your team. If we build our team with executives who have skills we might not have, such as a deep knowledge of information technology metrics or public policy, they can support us when we’re working with departments we may not be familiar with, and in the end help us look smarter.

Join PR News' webinar, Breaking Down the Silos Between Marketing and PR, on Thursday, April 23, 2015, 1:30-3 p.m. ET.

Follow Diane Gage Lofgren on Twitter: @dianelofgren

Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene