the periodic table of internal communication

The periodic table was created in 1869 to bring together all the known chemical elements under one roof enabling them to be studied, discussed and understood. Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev also predicted the discovery of other elements, and he purposely left spaces open for them.

by Caroline Roodhouse

We’ve recently worked with Chuck Gose, Corporate Communications VP, speaker & host of the internal comms podcast, ICology to replicate this original idea for internal communicators. And with hundreds of downloads from comms pros worldwide, it’s already proving to be very popular…

The Idea

The idea was to create a table of terms that would bring together all the elements of internal communication under one roof. We split the table across seven categories: Strategy, Objectives, Themes, Audiences, Formats, Channels and Metrics and populated each category with a number of common comms terms. From there, we’ve built the Periodic Table of Internal Communication, which you can download here.

A cracking response

The feedback so far has been fantastic. We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive responses…

“I love when great minds get together and produce something magical. Can't wait to print this and put it on our office wall!”

“This is one of the coolest internal comms pieces I've ever seen!!”

“I really like this - very cool way to think about comms. I think it's both beautiful and functional - good work all involved.”

“Brilliant. Great inspiration even for someone who was never very fond of chemistry. Thanks for sharing.”

“Very generous of you to have shared this tool. I can already see some changes we can make to our IC strategy.”

This is just the beginning…

At this point, it’s important to clarify that this isn’t the finished product. Not by any means. This is just the beginning. For a start, we’d like to gather more thoughts, feedback and opinion from comms pros everywhere. So we’re asking for your help in shaping the content. We’d love to know what element you’d add. What’s important to you right now? What’s missing?


When you download the periodic table pdf you’ll be prompted to submit your own element. So let’s hear what terms should be added to make this the best it can be. So far, we’ve had suggestions covering Audience Interaction to Innovation and Opinion Influencers to Conscience Bearers… and we’re keen to hear from plenty more of you.

You’ll also be prompted to share the table around your network, which we’d urge you to do in order to gather together as much expert knowledge and input as possible. You can also tweet us @alivewithideas using the #ElementsofIC.

Next steps

We’re taking the whole thing a step further. Once we’ve gathered in your comments, ideas and additions, we’ll be publishing a fully updated, interactive version that will include descriptions and insight into each term along with some additional thoughts, pointers, crowd sourced material and links to useful resources. We’ll be calling on the comms community to contribute articles and additional resources to share via the site.

This will become a practical resource for the comms community to refer to, share, enjoy and build upon. And it will be an ever-evolving source of ideas and information.

So whether you’re just getting started in internal and change communication or you’re an experienced professional, The Elements of IC will bring together many essential building blocks of internal communication to jump start discussion and plans, helping to spark and communicate thoughts and ideas.

We’ll let you know when the interactive version is available, in the meantime, download your pdf here.

Caroline Roodhouse is Content Creator at Alive With Ideas

Image by Alive With Ideas