Successful communication involves getting great media coverage, having a web site, issuing regular customer newsletters and updating employees regularly. Right?
Communicating is one thing, but doing it well is another. Taking a scatter gun approach to communication may create a lot of noise, but little real progress could result from the effort and resource involved. What’s more, poorly thought out communication may backfire by confusing or even annoying target audiences.
An effective communication programme has clear objectives that relate directly to the organisation’s vision, mission, values and annual objectives. This strong foundation ensures all communication activities support the organisation’s ‘big picture’.
Its content is akin to that of a business plan, and addresses:
- external and internal forces affecting the organisation
- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
- target audiences
- how to achieve the objectives and likely costs
- evaluation criteria
Importantly, the plan provides clear accountabilities by ensuring everyone has a common understanding of the communication programme’s ‘whos, whats, whens, whys and hows’.
So before making a start, spend time considering what you really want to achieve from the exercise. As Henry David Thoreau so nicely put it: “It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”