Updated June 20, 2023
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Introduction to Communication Strategy PlanCommunication, at its core, is a powerful tool. But you need to know how to use it. Most business needs clarification about where to start, how to proceed, and what to expect from building an effective communication strategy plan. In this article, you will get all the answers.We will show you the step-by-step process to map out a clear, specific, and written communication strategy plan for your organization and help you sort out our reasons for why you should do the same.The spiritual teacher Osho remarked when asked why he was prolific while discussing his talents and abilities. He said– If I won’t scream about my talents, who else will? How would people learn that I can assist them with my resources and abilities if I don’t do it?If you’re wondering why you need a communication strategy plan, it’s because of this – no one would get to know about you until you tell them in a manner they can understand. Being casual about your communication with internal and external stakeholders is easy. But that doesn’t maximize the value of your business.
If you’re still considering why you build an effective communication strategy plan for communicating your deepest values, services, products, mission, and vision to your people and customers, look at the reasons below. You would get to know why it’s utterly significant.
Reasons to Build a Communication Strategy Plan
Below are the different reasons to build a communication strategy plan:
- Agenda: A communication strategy plan helps build a schedule for an organization – why it exists, who it serves, how to operate, its mission and vision, and how it plans to expand. It’s an agenda because it shows people in the organization how they should execute the plans and where they need to reach. The customers will also get a clear view of what they can expect from the organization shortly.
- Strategy: The strategy is deciding to go from A to B, where significant risks are involved. With planning and a proper communication strategy plan, the organization can go far in channeling the information they want to transport. Thus, planning the communication strategy plan is always prudent for an organization that aims to grow.
- Concurrent reminder: Building a communication strategy plan facilitates the significant attribute of reminding the internal and external stakeholders about what they’re about to do or currently doing. Its programs and re-programs the mind of the individuals involved in the process and unifies them for a common purpose.
- Disclosure: No business can stand in a vacuum. They’re responsible for their actions; as everything affects everything, each move affects society directly or indirectly. So, the purpose of building a great communication strategy for employees is to fully disclose what the business is up to and how the company plans to grow the community and abstain from unethical practices.
These are the four main reasons you must build an effective communication strategy for employees. You can also include reaching a larger audience, trying to fetch better markets for your products, and expanding your business horizon. Still, they’re secondary reasons (these reasons may not be secondary to you).
Whatever reason you’ve, or even if you don’t have a reason to build an effective communication strategy for employees, we urge you to heed the rest of the article. If properly executed, this article can change the entire communication structure of your organization.
1. Articulate the current situation
You need to know where you stand to understand how you would expect to get ahead and reach a situation where things align with your vision. It will only once you know where you are.
The best way to know that is to do a SWOT Analysis. It’s very simple. Take a paper and divide it into four parts and then on the first part, write Strengths; under Strengths, write Weakness. On the right top hand, write Opportunities, and under Opportunities, report Threats.
Take some time to enter the inputs. If you need to take the help of your peers or customer feedback, do the same. The more accurately you do this analysis, the more beneficial your communication strategy plan will become. Know you can communicate with clarity only then when you’ve concrete and sound information. Take advantage of this step. It’s one of the most important things to begin with.
2. Arrange a meet-up with key-stakeholders
Once you complete your SWOT analysis, it’s time to make some course corrections. You know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Now, involve all the stakeholders to discuss what conclusions you reached are correct or if they would like to add any inputs. If they add inputs, listen and jot down.
Then present, the conclusions after the brainstorming. If all the key stakeholders agree to the same, plan to sit again to develop a strategic vision. The meet-up is important because one member needs help to make an organization.
We need everybody to stand aligned with organizational development and expansion. And if you’re in an organization, working, you would know that there’s a term called Johari Window which says that there’s a dark side of us that can be depicted better by other people.
So, using the same principle, in the organization, it’s mandatory not to rely only upon your thoughts and opinions and ask other key people to share theirs.
3. Map out an ideal future for the organization
Once the key people give their opinions and inputs, it’s time to map out an ideal future for the organization. To begin the process, write down everything that you want the organization to stand for. Then write down the end as you see it. Imagine you have the resources, people, money, and talents to create a spotless future.
Don’t think about impossibility as of now. It’s a step where you must think beyond your current scenario to expand your business and make your mark. Don’t let the ideal vision wander in your mind. Give it shape and structure. Please write it down in the same way you see it. The business philosopher Jim Rohn queried –
“Is it possible to see the future before it exists?” He answered, “It’s possible to see the future before it exists. Because you can see it in your mind before it exists.
4. Etch out the vision according to priority
At this stage, it’s time to give it shape. You need to be realistic now. You need to go out and do the due diligence. If you’re in the manufacturing industry and want backward integration, consider the resources, money, and people required to do the job.
Sit with your SWOT. Ask yourself – Is it necessary? How valuable may it become in the long run? Does your SWOT show you have the strengths in going for this step? If yes, go ahead, and if no, stop.
The ideal way to prioritize the vision is to divide it into four parts – critical, non-critical, decisional, and removal. Put all your vision into these four parts. Think long and hard.
Look at customer feedback and market analysis, judge the market trends, and then take the opinion of key stakeholders and then decide what things would necessarily go into the critical phase, which should go in decisional and non-critical and which you can remove from the vision.
5. Turn the vision into objectives
It’s time to sit with the key people of your organization. Take their input and see whether whatever you’re thinking is in unison. In this meet-up, you would present the division you made of your vision.
If not, why? Find out what they think. Add back certain things if they have merit, and discard certain things if you feel they can be avoided completely. Once you’re convinced about your vision and the priority of that vision, it’s time to set the objectives.
Setting objectives means you must etch out your big vision into pieces that can be achieved in 3-5 years or less. It’s important to chunk down. If you don’t chunk down, the execution won’t happen, and you wouldn’t be able to turn your vision into reality shortly.
6. Write down the action steps required to reach B from A
Once you set the objectives, it’s time to do ground-level work. We all know that imagination without execution is a delusion. So, taking each objective and deciding the A and B points is important. A is the point where we stand right now. And B is where we want to reach. We can only reach B once we take some action steps.
Maintain a sequence and structure. It’s time to write down each action step in detail so that we can understand where to do what and how to approach the whole thing in a simple manner. Take out one page for each objective.
On the top, if it is, write down the objective, then write the steps out individually, and then sequence it in order of importance. This simple structure would help take action and would make the execution flawless.
7. Find loopholes
If you’ve read Edward de Bono’s work “The Six Hats”, it’s time to wear the black hat. Writing down action steps is super easy. But we need contingency plans to handle the whole thing prudently.
Why contingency? Because at any time, things can go wrong. You may face a hell of a lot of obstacles along the way, which will make your life miserable. And if you don’t have a plan beforehand, the only thing you’ll be able to do is get stuck and stay idle.
Thus, plan for crises. Prepare for the worst-case scenario. Plan for emergencies. Plan for obstacles. And then move ahead with the next step.
8. Set deadlines
Once you see the black spots in turning your vision into reality, it’s time to give it more meaning. Someone said so beautifully – There are no unrealistic goals, but rather unrealistic deadlines. The organization can only expand with deadlines.
So, it’s time to set deadlines for each action step you’ve etched out before. Be specific, be realistic, and add a buffer to each deadline (at least 20% of the original time you thought would take the task to complete).
9. Attribute resources and responsibilities and share
Now you’ve got a whole list of things in your hand. You have already set the objectives, chunked them down into specific action steps, found the obstacles you may face a long and set deadlines for each task.
Now it’s time to attribute the resources and find people to do the task. It is the most critical part of building an effective communication strategy for employees. How you share the responsibilities will tell a lot about how you would like the plans implemented.
Most people think that communication strategies are separate, but it’s deeply aligned with an organization’s mission, vision, objectives, goals, and implementation. You need to know how to communicate with your subordinates in each step. So, while attributing the responsibilities, ensure they’ve all the resources available for implementation.
Once everything is done, ask your people to get to work according to the deadline. Create small feedback loops that help you get feedback for each task and how it is implemented Obtain feedback on the execution of each job. If the communication strategy to employees is difficult to implement, find out why. Is it an issue regarding resources/abilities/clarity/communication? And then take the necessary steps to change it. Implementation is very significant because the whole communication plan would fail without this
10. Bonus tip – Take corrective measures
Suppose the employees are not motivated and need to know the bigger purpose of a small task. In that case, the supervisor is responsible for teaching the employees and motivating them to act. This step is more about receiving feedback and creating an open-door policy where people can come and meet their supervisors at any time and discuss their issues during implementation.
These supervisors also need to report to their managers, and then managers would report to senior managers, and so on. This will create an effective feedback system which is very important for taking corrective measures as the employees implement the assigned task.
A communication strategy plan is not a separate thing. The purpose of strategic communications is inherent in setting the organization’s goals and achieving them with maximum success.
Thus, if an organization can implement the above, it would be fine to build an effective communication strategy for employees. Then the same transparency would infect the external stakeholders as well.
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the communication strategy plan so just go through the link.