Internal communications best practices: A checklist for all-company emails
Many will never know the anxiety and sweaty palms that those of us tasked with all-company emails experience – but our team of internal comms pros feels your pain!
The thought of making a mistake and then broadcasting that to an entire organization is enough to stop even the most seasoned communicator in their tracks.
But there’s good news! That stress and risk of error can be minimized by following these steps:
Self review and have a co-worker review
It’s difficult to see our own mistakes, and you’re bound to miss things when you’ve likely re-read the message several (hundred) times. It is always smart to have a fresh set of eyes take another look.
Confirm you’ve made all requested changes
Verify one-by-one that the proper edits have been made and double-check that there are no remaining comments or edits left in the document. This is especially important and can be a painstaking process for high-stakes messages that require a lot of input. In the event of conflicting opinions, be sure senior reviewers have final say.
Scroll up and down
Through an arduous review/feedback process, it can be easy to skip over content or a forwarded freestanding comment at the top or bottom of the email and/or Teams channel on which content was shared. Many reviewers will share feedback outside of the original document, so take the time to double check and incorporate those.
Ensure you have the right distribution lists
Know who you want (and do not want) to send the message to and confirm corresponding distribution lists to reach those groups. If the list is used infrequently, it’s worth confirming that recipients are current.
Add distribution lists to the BCC field
By including distribution lists in the BCC field, you avoid the possibility of someone replying all – and starting an arduous thread that could go on for hours. If you forget and someone replies all, immediately contact your IT department for help.
Add those who should be copied
Are there key contacts who are not on the distribution list but should be copied? Ensure they’re also added to the BCC field.
Align on whom the message will be sent from
Is it a shared mailbox, an executive or simply a signature line? Before you hit send, be sure that it’s coming from the right sender.
Do you need to specify who this message applies to (or excludes) at the top of the email (e.g., “This message applies or is being sent to all employees of X company. It does not apply to X employees.”)? This could be employees of an acquired company, production employees, etc. Ideally, you can segment and target with focused distribution lists to avoid sending irrelevant content.
Confirm that your subject line reflects the content, entices the reader to open it and indicates if the recipients need to take action and by when. And be sure to proofread a few times: Subject lines are not part of the spell check feature and are the most frequent, most prominent source of error.
Send the message to yourself first
Sometimes, formatting does not come through as intended when content has been copied and pasted. This is also another opportunity to confirm that all links navigate as intended. It’s always good practice to send the message to yourself first to adjust as needed.
Put the mailbox in the “To” line
If you put your distribution lists in the BCC field, you can put the shared mailbox address in the To line.
Add yourself to the BCC field so you’ll know your message was delivered.
Take a deep breath and hit send!
You’re not alone: All of us experience a small rush of stress before hitting send on those all-company emails. That’s to be expected with high-stakes messaging, but a tactical approach will minimize angst and increase successful delivery.
Download and share our internal communications email checklist to be sure you are checking all the boxes!
Whatever the source of your messaging angst, we’ve been there and are here to help: Bred Corporate, Gone AgencyTM, Pivot Strategies has the experience, resources, and tactical and practical support you need to create, finetune and execute your strategy.