#internalcomms

Your end of year to-do list

As we enter the summer switch-off in Australia, here’s a different kind of to-do list for the holidays.

Nobody wants to be told to relax. It feels counter-intuitive to be instructed to on how to have down-time. But sometimes, in the busy-ness, it can be hard to go from full speed to idle. These 12 prompts are ways of crossing over into the recharge zone.

Intended as a gentle thought starter, I created this list in 2010 as a way of giving myself some prompts for downtime and reflection after a particularly challenging year, and finding that I really didn’t know how to switch off.

Reflect. Consider the successes and lessons of the year that has passed.

Revel. There are many opportunities for celebration. Take them. Share them.

Recharge. Chances are, you have worked hard all year. Put some fuel in the tank.

Randomise. Disruption is great for creativity. Break habits. Get lost. See what you discover.

Reconnect. Connect with the people you wanted to see more of during the year.

Regress. Summer is a great time to play. Humans learn from play – it is an ingrained skill we sometimes forget to exercise.

Read. For pleasure. There’s no award for the number of business books you consume on holiday.

Reframe. We are often in a different place over holidays (even if that different place is ‘home’!) Consider the landscape and allow the different space to inspire new thoughts.

Recognise. Notice those things you miss when you are flat out. What would it take to notice them at other times of the year?

Record. Keep a holiday journal. Save those insights.

Retain. Decide what you want to retain for the year ahead. Hold onto the right things.

Relax.

Thank you, clients, colleagues, co-creators, collaborators and competitors…

I’ll be back in the new year with new projects, new collaborations and some other big news!

Until then, happy and safe holidays to you and yours.

Cheers

Jonathan

Recharge

Using the 5-step COMMS model for better outcomes – IABC Webinar

I am excited to be presenting to the IABC member community a webinar on the fundamentals of the COMMS plan model. This 60-minute session provides an introduction to how the model can be used to focus on outcomes rather than tactics when it comes to communication planning and incorporates the seven essential elements of an effective communication plan.

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IABC members are able to view a playback of the session on the IABC Professional Development portal.

Building the planning habit

It’s a decade since journalist and trend-spotter Malcolm Gladwell introduced us to the idea of the 10000-hour rule in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. Gladwell contended that amongst a range of factors practice is the most common denominator in outstanding success. While even Gladwell himself acknowledges this is an oversimplification, the principle applies to many fields including communication management.

One challenge communicators describe is getting into the practice of effective communication planning. This topic comes up frequently in communication training that I facilitate, both at the level of emerging practitioners and for more senior communicators. “Our organisation just wants the outcome, they don’t value the planning.” Or, “We have to have a plan for everything but then it goes into the drawer”. The approach for many practitioners is to find an example of a plan that has worked and to try to adopt that into their organisation.

The risk with this ‘template-led’ approach to communication planning is that frequently a communication plan documents an approach but does not display the thinking that has been applied to ensure that approach is right for that environment.

 

FindReplaceCommsPlan

Too often, communication plans are based on ‘here’s one we prepared earlier’ rather than developed through a consistent process.

Building the communication planning habit

It’s not just Malcolm Gladwell who encourages the idea of practice to achieve mastery. Across fields as diverse as science, the performing arts, personal fitness and writing – whether to achieve greatness or for pure enjoyment – habit-building is an important foundation.

For communicators, treating every communication, regardless of scale or of how ‘business as usual’ it might seem, as an opportunity to build the planning habit provides a number of benefits.

  • Challenging our ‘first thinking’. While many communication decisions are based on sound instinct and applied experience, testing our thinking each time can help challenge assumptions.
  • Building awareness of the function. While it can be rewarding to have the skills to improve communication, showing how the process works demonstrates to stakeholders that communication planning is a professional process, not just an intuitive talent.
  • Amplifying capability. By showing others how something is done, we do not diminish our own capability as communicators. Rather, we grow the skills across our organisations or client groups. In contemporary organisations, everybody is a communicator. Giving people a process to challenge their own thinking is a valuable contribution to improving communication across the board.
  • We get better. Using a consistent approach allows for communicator’s creativity to come to the fore in the way that solutions are developed in response to the needs and outcomes required.

The COMMS Planning approach provides a simple five steps that can be applied to every communication activity to challenge ‘first thoughts’ and helping get better outcomes from your efforts.

A version of this article first appeared on LinkedIn.

7 Essential Communication Plan Success Factors

Communication planning does not have to be difficult. In the first in a series of simple checklists and tools from the Meaning Business COMMS Plan toolkit, here are seven essential factors for an effective plan.

THE 7 ESSENTIAL COMMUNICATION PLAN SUCCESS FACTORS