I’m often asked to create communications plans to support various initiatives. With enough understanding of the initiative (reading through a few presentations etc.), and a quick size-up of the leadership, I can generally create a draft plan with key messages, proposed platforms, key stakeholders, talking points, calendar, blah blah blah and etc.

However experience has taught me that the key to the success of any plan is ensuring absolute clarity of the goal – as in ‘what’s the goal of this plan?’ What exactly am I being asked to achieve? Greater transparency? Employee buy in? Deeper understanding? Overall engagement? All of these and then some?

You’ll find as you pose this question directly that very often your leader/client will struggle with a crisp answer. Sometimes they simply don’t know. I mean, they know they need to ‘get the word out’ but they don’t know really, specifically, what they’re trying to achieve. That’s where you/I become invaluable. It’s up to us to provide the right guidance and demonstrate the power of targeted communication. Use this question to engage in a dialogue about their challenges, their vision and their needs and together agree on the most effective way to leverage communication to achieve their desired results.

Then, once that question is answered and the plan is agreed, establish a clear way to measure your progress towards the goal. Let us never forget…”The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  Damn straight.  Thanks Uncle George.