“A communication is a key to strong relationship fostered by mutual corporation and understanding And communication plan is a tool for it”.
develop an Effective Communication Plan – We as humans are driven by communication which is a source of our life and activities, and so are the ventures of the organizations and their prolific creations, strategies, or ideologies that they want to present to their audiences or within their own corporate or non-corporate circles.
This intensity to project drives these organizations towards adopting the communication plans that would speak voluminously about them and their thematic proposals and schemes.
What is a communication plan & why it is so imperative?
A communication plan is a strategically oriented written document that presents the objectives and aims of the company, and their undergoing activities or projects.
We can also say it is an informative piece that explains the stakeholders and concerned team what the company aims at and its future plans.
Following components constitutes a communication plan:
- Aims and objectives
- Process and action plan
- List of stakeholders or a team involved in the projects
- Finding out people to whom the communication plan should be addressed?
- How are you going to evaluate your projected profits?
A communication can be in any form as a reports electronic media, print publications, conference material, surveys, marketing or sales tools, speeches etc. to enable the project heads or a management team to plan out their project as per the company’s expectations and realize their targeted goals.
They can set up the desired standard and tone of communication to set a certain pace of the project, and consistent workflow. It also helps the project planners to set their priorities and utilize the resources to the optimum.
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As pertinent is a communication plan equally important is the way to develop it, which is insinuated by the needs of the corporate entities.
Tips to develop an impactful communication plan!
Study the communication trend and Audit Your Research:
Find about the communication trend in your organization. Some of the organizations are hiring firms to make out what’s going on, but this expenditure might be a burden on your company’s budget.
So you can do bit of saving by studying yourself how the others in the organization are communicating, the way they are interacting and accomplishing their day to day operational activities and are they getting concrete results?
To get the answers, you need to fix an appointment and do some brainstorming with your staff members and manager and find the results or any drawbacks or issues that might be hampering their communication process.
Select the person who would be taking the lead
Before the start of the actual process, it is very imperative to find a spokesperson who would be initiating the communication process and formulating the communication plan. He should meet the following criteria:
- He should be always ready to cooperate, coordinate with the other members of the team and staff and set up the communication plans and goals.
- He should be capable of allocating the time and staff to meet the communication needs.
- Have the capability to decide the requisite communication system and its effectiveness and impact it might have.
- He should engage the evaluator as well as others in generating and revising the different communicative strategies and communication plans.
- Have ability to generate many creative ideas for successful implementation of the communication plan,
Develop communication and trust among your peers and community
You should maintain strong communication and trust and manage expectations of the people concerned especially who are the partners in your efforts. This creates a secure environment and reduces all the chances of any risk or rumors.
The correct and timely information can help communities to involve in an active participation in the programs, get feedback and can have meaningful engagement and understand the benefits they can get from the program.
Define the Objectives and Goals
After all the information from the company, establish objectives and goals of the communication plan and what you want to achieve. Your objectives conjure to the objectives of the company which includes
- Your services towards company,
- How well you can create impact
- How can you centralized your communication network
- Build teamwork
- Improve the product delivery
- To what level your communication plan is creating an impact on the stakeholders, media and government.
The goals are the resources required whether human or mechanical, process that is being adopted for the project, the kind of products or services that the company intends to produce or promote and the kinds of improvements needed in the current processes or functioning.
Find out the potential audiences /readers of your communication plan
You need to find out the potential audience which your associations might be contacting or trying to influence you. These audiences are your consumers, members, concerned associations, educators, industrialists, media etc.
This would include your study and research on the people who might directly have an impact of the ongoing projects or the activities and find out the groups who are part of the organization or an outsider but are related with the project.
This would enable you to prioritize your targeted audience and make a better decision.
Activities that you need to put in before or after communication plan implementation
You need to make the judgment on the kind of information and activities that you need to share your information. Form different groups or communities, conduct different reviews and evaluate the processes.
Involve in the community meeting each month and create a forum where concerned people can converse or share a concern. It is also very imperative to share your research or findings with the evaluators and perform surveys.
Design your key points
Find and design the important points or messages that you want to deliver. It would help you to filter the unnecessary facts or information and deliver what is best, accurate and effective.
This would also help you to understand the needs and expectations of the people and the kind of questions they can ask. And, help you to understand how the program and project can affect the community or state.
When deciding on the message understand and evaluate the situation in which communication process is implied and mood of the audience, the language in which message has to be conveyed, the type of message to convey and overall design.
The message should be drafted while keeping the type of audience in mind. Also important if the audience are young ones, old or children, and then frame message accordingly.
As said by James Thurbe, “ Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.
Evaluate the Sensitivity of the audience
Find out the mood of the people and determine how the people should react to the mood and sensitivity of the situation. No message should have any word or statement that shows disrespect to any language, culture, religion or faith of the people.
Find out what is a general mood of the audience, and to retain a correct balance for communicating, retaining the positive tone will help reach more people rather than spreading negativity that may ignite fear or anger.
Know about the language your audience speaks, and whether the language you use is formal or informal, simple or sophisticated. Simply if you are reaching out to the people, you have to write and use the people’s language else for dignitaries or corporate world, sophisticated language is required.
The situation might come in making a decision whether to choose an informal language or a formal language. Sometimes too formal language might make the listeners feel you are not speaking to them.
The language used should be a communication plan and straightforward that shows what you wanted to say and feel.
Find the mode of communication
Think the best mode of media for communication, which could be either electronic or print, or verbal. These mediums could range from pamphlet, flyers, covers, websites, cards, Television etc.
Discuss the ideas with the managerial team and other staff and come out with the idea that would really get you success. The medium that is needed for communication also depends on the audience being targeted during the communication process.
You need to make sure that the mode of communication which you choose get your message across the concerned departments or people on time, for instance, some may require PowerPoint presentation while the press may need an interview of a head of the project team.
Correct decision made on the choice of media entails your success in communication pattern and a framework you choose. You need to make sure that the members of the evaluation team are comfortable with the different kinds of communication types.
Given the various types, it is critical that members of your evaluation team are comfortable with the type of communication you are using or implying.
The type of Tools or medium in the communication plan includes:
- Meeting Summaries
- Status reports
- News Letters
- Internet/Intranet Web page
- Small group meetings etc
Find the factors that can affect the Communication Method
Work on the different factors or reasons that can impact your selected communication methods, look at the local situation and case, and find out the kind of communication channels available in the community and the type of activities that can be incorporated.
You also need to find out the type of audiences- their religion, culture, age group, sex ratio, whether they are literate or illiterate and more of young or married people. Most important of all how these people can be reached.
Very important factor that generally people ignore is the extent of the risk involved in spreading the communication message to the people. Another aspect to it whether the communication process could be a two way or a one way for instance whether a program required a feedback or not?
Set up the Matrix
The best idea is to have a matrix with the communication plan related to the specific project, like reviewing of the meetings, setting the status message.
Explain the theme of the project, what are the key points of discussion, how the project be delivered, how are the targeted audiences and the responsibilities they share. This can help in setting the expectation and set the boundaries for the communication plan.
This process would lead to the conversion of the matrix into an informative piece, a graphic that could be shared and utilized by anybody whosoever are working on the project.
Set up a time schedule
Once you have found out your goals and objective, organize all the data in a format of a calendar and mention briefs about the projects that would be covered or the tasks that needs to be accomplished as per the priority, and separate each task logically as per the week, month.
Analyze the result
Create a method for coming up with a result, the evaluation process should be either your monthly report, presentation or staff meeting, department report, briefings of a staff executive.
Your analysis or evaluation depends on the number of times you need to present the results. The situation might come in when you have to present the results before the concerned team even before your evaluation process gets over.
You should also find out when different constituents might want to review your result process.
It is imperative to find out the estimated budget, and the anticipated results from the expenditure. Calculate the cost involved and how you are going to gain from the investment.
Find out about the anticipated hurdles or emergencies
As stated above, communication process involves many paradigms and many routes, where hurdles or emergencies can erupt the functionalities.
The worst case can happen when a press release or a flyer is printed and email and communication address is misprinted or erased, or critical and important word is misspelled, a reporter might get the wrong information.
A disaster might happen when organization for you which you are devoting your skills deny to give you credit. These types of issues needed to be anticipated before the communication plan and alternative solutions found to overcome and rectify these issues.
The communication plan is a mouthpiece of the organization’s dreams which needs to be strategically drawn with eyes on minute details. It is best to prepare a communication plan three or four days before schedule and evaluate the same thoroughly.
A well-documented communication plan will smooth the whole process and bring order in diversified activities that you might be performing.
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