Of course communication is important. It’s not even worth arguing its value since we all know that at work and at home, we’re headed for trouble without it.
When working with our clients to create communication plans to facilitate change, it starts with a shared foundation.
Defining the What
Defining the Why
Defining the Who Needs What
But the project is well on its way. Teams are moving a million miles an hour and you were just brought in to create a communication plan. Your client wants action tomorrow. Where do you get started?
Survey perspectives. We don’t always have the luxury of conducting all the individual interviews we need or the time to dig through documents for background and context. The best way to get a pulse on the what, why, and who of the project (even after we were “told” this by our primary client) is to get it again from the rest of the stakeholders. We’re talking about a 4-5 question survey not from the client, but from you – the neutral zone. My favorite question is to ask, “How would you explain XYZ to a stranger?” Sounds crazy simple right? It is. But what we learn is often varied and forces you to strip it down. And if we’re creating a consistent message across a complex project, we need to at this quickly. It’s the basis for all other messages.
Vet messages. We’re not talking about your veterinarian’s blog, we’re talking about the action of vetting the various messages you learn from the survey. A well facilitated discovery session with key stakeholders reviewing the perspectives of the group is often eye opening. It also allows you to start your session with a base layer of perspectives. Our model takes stakeholders down specific discussion paths and gets right at the core of where the GAPs lie. It’s not always smooth – don’t expect it to be, but it can cut down 2-3 weeks of time.
The result? Strategies – “I see where we need to go in our communication.” Alignment - ”I believe it’s the right message.”