There is a simple, two-step approach to effective communication that will work every time:
- Plan it
- Do it
The importance of planning
All too often we see communication activities that are ad hoc or scattergun. Apart from the odd lucky hit, the rest of the effort ricochets out into nowhere.
A planned approach will provide direction and ensure that resources are allocated and used in the most effective way. By establishing what you want your outcomes to be (your goals), who you want to reach (your audience), what you want to convey to them (your message), and how you’re going to do it (your tools and timing), you provide yourself with a framework that directs your communication activities.
Additionally, and perhaps even more usefully, because a communication plan provides this framework, it will help you when unexpected issues crop up. Decisions will be more easily made on the fly because your reference points (goals, audience, message, tools and timing) have already been established. This can save not only time and resources, but also much personal angst and ‘discussions’ with colleagues down the track!
Just implement it.
Implementing a communication plan is the fun part! Perhaps this is why many people jump straight to the ‘doing’, bypassing the ‘planning’ completely.
Your plan allows you to focus on getting in and getting the job done because your actions are all laid out before you. There’s no stopping mid-stream wondering you’re doing the right thing. Similarly, there’s no wasted effort or resources because your activity has a place or purpose in the bigger communication picture.
You can enlist the services of others to assist, because the plan makes sure everyone knows what has to be done, why it’s being done, and where and how it’s being done (not to mention, who’s doing it). Implementing a plan where everyone’s enthusiasm is directed to where it is most useful makes the task so much easier, so much more enjoyable and so much more effective.
Factor in both planning and doing from the outset, and you’ll be off to a flying start!