Communications plans help to guide conversation and larger communication throughout an organization for efficient and effective decision making and messaging. As an organization transitions to a formal communications plan, it is important to remember to have patience and understanding, recognizing that questions and comments may not be immediately validated or responded to. A communications plan lays out a formal protocol for the communication flow and therefore open discussion and/or unsolicited comments may no longer be addressed.
A communications plan is a policy that lays out the who, when and how for decision making and problem solving in addition to important announcements regarding the organization. Communications plans have four main components:
- Who/Audience – who are the key people that need to know?
- What – What is your main goal and/or announcement?
- How – The strategies and tactics you will use to communicate the what to the who.
- When – When do you implement the communications plan and how do you time important messages?
There are two types of communications an organization must address: internal and external communications. Internal communications are focused on the Board of Directors and staff. External communications focus on messaging to the outside world.
An internal communications plan looks at the appropriate channels of communication between staff, board members, and the two groups together; inclusivity of communications, ensuring key stakeholders are part of the discussion and decision making process; reporting schedules, as in when and where communications should be directed; and feedback mechanisms, an opportunity for consultation as appropriate.
Internal communications have three main goals: strategic leadership, organizational culture, and project management.
- Unifying people around shared goals
- Providing big picture context for decisions
- Implementing changes within the organization
- Aligning and updating priorities as needed
- Motivating staff/board to act
- Encouraging more listening and learning internally
- Building relationships and trust
- Building brand ambassadors
- Streamlining workflows
- Improving project coordination
- Improving decision making
- Fostering accountability
Internal communications plans can increase participation levels because they focus the conversation to those to whom the message is relevant. A communications plan also works to increase organizational readiness because it reduces the time it takes for an organization to act by encouraging people to take time prior to an emergency for strategic thinking.
Would you like more information on how urbanASKEW can help your organization create and implement a Communications Plan? Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. We can be contacted here.