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How this #1 College Basketball Player Resembles Internal Communicators

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

As the world still grieves March Madness, I don't think there is a team more devastated than the University of Dayton Flyers. Trust me, I live with a UD alum.

Just in case you aren't up on your college basketball, most would argue the University of Dayton Flyers were the team to beat this year. A big reason for this was their star player, Obi Toppin. If you haven't heard of this young star, watch his story produced by CBS Sports. It is worth the three minutes.

Obi was inspiring to watch and his inspiration reminded me of another star I'd love to tout, the internal communicator. Below are 5 reasons why Obi Toppin reminds me of the star player at your company, the internal communicator.

1. Undervalued and overlooked: Obi's value as a player shockingly was undervalued and overlooked. No school took a look at him. I feel that this has happened to internal communicators, somehow their value flies under the radar, in part because most internal communicators I know are humble introverts and not prone to toot their own. Obi, although a showman on the basketball court, is 'as quiet as a church mouse' as Mike O'Donnell, CBS Sports Broadcaster stated in our upcoming podcast episode. Hint: it hits the airwaves on 4/20.

2. Rapid growth under pressure: Obi literally hit a growth spurt his later years in high school and sprouted to 6'9". Not a single division one school looked at Obi, but he grew as a player and eventually became noticed. The same thing has happened to internal communicators, they grow under pressure. Particularly now with the COVID-19 crisis, internal communicators and their growth have taken the center court and companies have taken notice.

3. Putting in extra hours: I remember going to a University of Dayton game a few hours early, like way early. There was a lonely basketball player on the court. You guessed it, Obi Toppin was doing a warm-up before the game, taking shot after shot after shot. No other player was out there. Being so inspired, I even took a photo. I see the same crazy hours with internal communicators. Nine times out of ten when I have emailed an internal communicator after midnight, they respond. Overtime doesn't scare this industry, they accept it as part of the territory. I'm not saying the long hours are right, I'm pointing out they do what it takes to get the job done.

4. Community is key. If you haven't been to a University of Dayton basketball game, it is like stepping back in time when you would imagine home town communities coming together to cheer or support a single cause. Dayton is a basketball town, they love their

Flyers and you can feel this energy in the arena. Internal communicators love being with their fellow colleagues, which is why our Internal Comms Pro Collective is so key. At times, internal communicators can feel isolated therefore being with other internal communicators to share ideas and swap strategies is a game-changer for them.

5. They're on top now but remain humble. Obi ended his season being on top. Toppin was named the winner of the Naismith Trophy for national player of the year, Associated Press Player of the Year and First Team All-American, and player of the year by the US Basketball Writers Association. Numerous other outlets including CBS Sports, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and others also named him their national player of the year. The best part, Obi Toppin remains humble. Like Toppin, internal communicators will continue to win awards from their respective associations, but it is our personal mission at Internal Comms Pro to not only make sure internal communicators are recognized but that they themselves know they are the industry on top. Like Mike O'Donnell said, "Ain't no stoppin' Obi Toppin," and at our collective, we're saying 'ain't no stoppin' the internal comms industry.' Why are we saying this? Because internal communicators are humble. It is also why we are launching our upcoming Bloom Series to celebrate the growth of internal communicators.

Be sure to tune in to Internal Comms Pro: The Podcast next Tuesday, April 20 as our special Game Day episode: Storytelling Play by Play airs with CBS Sports Broadcasters Mike O'Donnell and Joel Godett. And yes, we talk about Obi on the broadcast too.

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