Michelle Lyons is the Director, Global Communications at MetLife and is joining ALI Conferences as a speaker at the 7th Annual Strategic Internal Communications—West, Jan. 28-30, 2020 in San Francisco. Lyons sat down to answer a few questions on what is new and exciting in communications.
What do you hope professionals will take away from this conference or your session?
I hope people will take away new ideas and a fresh way of thinking about communicating with employees. Internal comms is shifting. The way we communicate with each other has already changed. We need to bring that style into internal communications. So, I hope professionals will come with an open mind and take away nuggets or pearls they hear at the conference and actually implement them in their comms departments. I hope attendees will hear my presentation and understand why it’s important to have people on your communications team who don’t have a traditional corporate background and why having these people adds value to your department and company.
What about this topic excites you personally?
I love writing and telling stories and providing information to people. I’m thrilled that Advanced Learning Institute is dedicated to shedding light on this topic and bringing the best in the industry to share their experience, knowledge, tricks and techniques. I’m also excited to connect with other internal communications professionals to find out what they’re doing in their departments.
What’s new and exciting in Global Communications today?
Customization. Gone are the days of one size fits all content. With so many different platforms and channels, we have to tailor content to fit each one. I’m seeing tailored content for each channel and platform, taking one story and producing it several different ways. It could be a picture and a caption on Instagram. Long-form on the intranet. A listicle on LinkedIn. Simple tweaks to make the story visually different so you’re not putting too much time and effort into one story especially if you have a small team. But the minor tweaks freshen your content when you’re publishing it on different channels.
Another trend I’m excited about is more visuals and video and less text. There is more focus on visual communications, telling stories through photos and videos.
What drew you to Communications & why are you passionate about this role?
I was drawn to the concept of telling stories for one brand. I love creating content for employees. I don’t have a traditional corporate communications background, so I have an objective viewpoint. My background is journalism, specifically television news. I was a producer and writer for major television networks. The background and training are still with me. I’m always thinking of my audience. Every piece of content I create, I do it through the lens of an employee. What do they really want to know? What’s in it for them? Why should they care? I also like producing content for the intranet. I think of it as a digital newsroom and treat it as such (as much as I can get away with – LOL) so I was drawn to the concept of creating news for a site to reach a specific audience. And then, of course, there are other channels we use to disseminate information. I’m passionate about this role because I know what can happen when we tell compelling, engaging stories in fun, creative, fresh ways. Employees will respond. I’ve seen the metrics. I’ve heard the feedback. In the end, I want to produce content in the best possible way, satisfying both senior leaders and employees.
Recommend a book or podcast.
There are two podcasts I’m loving right now: Hear to Slay with Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom and Jemele Hill is Unbothered. Roxane, Tressie and Jemele are the women you want to have as friends. They are smart, funny, real, honest and will set you straight in the most loving way possible. You’ll always learn something when listening to these podcasts. Always.
Thank you to Michelle for all her insights into the exciting world of communications! We are looking forward to her session and taking home new strategies. (As well as talking more with another Roxane Gay fan!)