The simple guide to creating a communication plan I posted at WikiHow has notched up over 2000 visits.
A communication plan is a road map for getting your message across to your audience. The plan is an essential tool of marketing, human resources, corporate affairs and public relations management. Spending time planning your approach will improve your ability to achieve your desired outcome.
- Know why you need to communicate. What do you want to be different as a result of communicating?
- Consider who you need to communicate with. Make a list of your potential audiences.
- What do these audiences think about the issue or topic now? How can you find out? Make a note of what you know or what you need to do to find out.
- Define. What do you want your audience to KNOW, THINK or DO as a result of the communication?
- Write your key messages for each audience. These may be the same for each audience, or you may have to consider addressing their differences. Remember the purpose of your communication.
- Decide when you need to deliver your messages. Your timing may determine how you need to communicate.
- Decide how to deliver your messages. If you are trying to generate awareness, written communication may be enough. If the message is complex, or controversial, you may need to plan for more interactive approaches including face to face communication.
- Who will deliver the message? How will you prepare them?
- What resources are required?
- How will you enable feedback? How will you know that your audience has received the communication?
- How will you know if they have understood, acted on or changed as a result of the communication?
- How will you follow up if additional communication is required?
- Be really clear about why you need to communicate. This will be important planning the who, how and when.
- To help capture the information, you can use a table with the following columns:
- Audience | Outcome | Message | Approach | Timing | Delivery | Measure/Follow Up | Resource
- Know your audience. The better you understand their priorities, concerns, issues and environment, the greater your ability to target your messages to them.
- Know your messages back to front.
- Be creative in how you access your audience. Go where the fish are – if your audience are online, communicate online. If they are working on the same floor as you – gather together and talk.
- Focus on what your audiences need. It will help you identify and develop your messages.
- Remember that you are communicating all the time – a communication plan needs to be consistent with your usual activity.
- Be candid, open and honest in your communications.
- If you are unsure of something, do not bluff – clarify and commit to following up the information.
- Don’t use the ‘scattergun’ approach and send a whole lot of communications in the hope that some will stick.
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Create a Communication Plan. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.