5 Tips for Building Better Teams by Breaking Down Silos

It’s increasingly becoming a reality in the communications world that once-sequestered departments are now finding themselves working closely with colleagues they seldom encountered previously. For many, the breaking down of institutional borders between an organization’s various departments is a welcome trend.

Even if a tumbling of silos has been a long time coming, the question of how to get all these different people with specialized functions working together efficiently isn’t any easier to answer.

Brandi Boatner, IBM
Brandi Boatner, IBM

Luckily for the willful PR pro determined to bring together far-flung departments on a single campaign, the trail is clear of underbrush and well traveled, even if it lacks clearly visible signs pointing the way.

One of these silo-busting pioneers is Brandi Boatner, digital experience manager with IBM and featured speaker at the upcoming PR News Digital PR & Marketing Conference, taking place June 6-8 in Miami. At the conference, Boatner will offer attendees an in-depth case study on how she was able to bring together PR, marketing and customer relations to create an enterprising digital team.

For a sneak peek at some of the tactics that helped her team succeed in working across silos, here are five tips from Boatner any communicator can use to integrate multiple departments into a powerhouse of a campaign.


Time is money. Everyone is busy and active on a daily basis. As you work on a project across various departments, avoid electronic clutter. Make communications clear, concise and to the point as to what is needed and should be accomplished assigning a timeline of deliverables.


Make sure you research what the other department’s role is in the project and some of their challenges and opportunities. Ask yourself, what information do you or the PR department have that might be useful to others not in your department? Remember data is your friend, so embrace and provide as much as you can when collaborating across departments.


Before you get started on the project, make sure all parties involved understand the business objectives holistically and how each of their departments contributes to that objective. Having a clear agenda everyone is working toward will increase productivity.


No one department is right or wrong. If a tactic fails for the project, fail fast. As a PR professional, make sure you are agile enough to make adjustments quickly to ensure success.

Skill building

By collaborating across different departments, each department brings a certain set of skills and expertise to the table. Use the collective wisdom of the different departments to build and strengthen your own skills in areas that may not involve your day-to-day responsibilities.

To hear more about developing successful cross-departmental teams and get the latest PR trends and tips from organizations like IBM, Miami Heat, ACLU, Western Union, Southwest Airlines and more, join PR News for the Digital PR & Marketing Conference taking place in Miami from June 6-8. 

Follow Brandi: @ThinkBluePR

Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree