External and internal communication in the Salesian Family

Institutional communication refers to the activities performed by an organization and its representatives to generate and transmit information to individuals, groups, and communities, as well as to obtain feedback. Organizations carry out external and internal communication activities, in the course of which they communicate relevant information to the public about events as well as the organization's objectives, values, mission, and vision. The communication channels are sometimes different, as is the audience itself. In recent years, institutions have placed a clear emphasis on obtaining feedback from recipients, whereby this communication is sometimes defined two-way communication.
External communication refers to the transmission of information outside the organization, to a broad audience. In this case, the entity aims to build a positive image and to reliably inform those who are not directly involved in the organization about its activities. Internal communication, instead, is the transmission of messages within an organization to those who are part of it. Such statements help people understand the mission and vision, as well as orient themselves toward the organization's specific activities and plans.
In the fundamental principles of communication, we find the affirmation that when an institution ceases relevant communication activities, this role is taken over by other actors, with different results: negative or positive. Silence in an institution's media space is not the preferred casus of the media and of journalists. In this case, the organization does not construct a narrative and is not proactive, but reactive in its communication activities. This is why it is so important to gradually raise awareness of appropriate communication, but also to prepare specific people from a professional point of view for these activities.
In this context, however, it is important to recall that "(...) communication is often instrumentalized so that the world sees us as we would like to be and not for who we are."1 Communication in the Church "(...) must never be reduced to an artifice, to - we would say today - a marketing strategy, but must be the reflection of the soul, the visible surface of a nucleus of love invisible to the eyes".
The corollary of institutional communication is its identity, that is, the set of characteristics that have shaped it. In the case of the Salesian Family, it is necessary to recall the history, the charism, the saints and blesseds of the Salesian community guided by Don Bosco, all the institutions and activities of the Salesian Family in the world, the leaders and, above all, the actual people who make up this great family.

don Maciej Makula, SDB

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