ENGAGE SERIES: Communicate - Plan


We're continuing our series today about the need to communicate with your team. The larger topic we're covering is how to engage your people for greater productivity and we have covered the need for collaboration, and how to coordinate, but collaboration and coordination are worthless without true communication. Today we’ll cover the need to plan your communication and not leave it to chance.

According to Anatole France, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” I like the contrast here of planning and acting whilst dreaming and believing. A powerful juxtaposition.

Regardless of how big complex and daunting your task, have one plan to communicate; make it very open and transparent, super simple and easy to understand. Have honesty and integrity; be open in your communications and help define reality, you’ll be surprised how that builds respect and garners an appropriate response. Open transparent communication will create a level of trust and engagement, that transcends bad news. In turn this can unlock solutions and foster creativity.

So how do we communicate to the right people at the right time with the right message? We plan. Create a cycle of communication mapped to stakeholders in set durations. These will vary depending on your own circumstances, but we all need to plan. Who do I need to connect with and collaborate with? How often should I communicate with which stakeholders? What is important to them.

Regardless of who, how and how often, at the core should be a compelling singularity, a purpose, an outcome, a priority. If this is clear and compelling it will drive alignment and focus resources on the desired outcome. If we plan to deliver this message to the right people regularly, it goes a long way to driving success.

The frustration here is that we don’t have time to communicate to all and we just get too busy to do what we know we need to do. So, a planned schedule of regular communications, from leadership meetings to organisation wide town-halls is critical if we are to communicate well. Get them in the diary!

What we want is all stakeholders to have confidence that they understand what’s important, where are we at, and the desired outcomes all are focused on.

The answer is in a communication plan and cycle that is workable and predictable.

If we get this right our teams and organisations are well informed, understand the challenges, the opportunity, and the priorities. This unlocks the magic of alignment and focus.

If we don’t get this right, there will be disparate agendas and clouded objectives which wastes resources and produces confusion. Even when the news is bad, share it.

The principle here is that our communication should not be random, but that we should plan. What are we going to say? When are we going to say it and what medium are we going to use to say it?

You can’t wing a speech if you want to have an impact. Plan it out. Break down your complex issues into simple priorities. Get super clear on what’s important and repeat the message.

Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” There’s nothing wrong with constraints and urgency but have a simple plan.

Do you have a communication strategy? Why not get together with your immediate team and work on how often you should communicate, with whom and what would be the simple outcomes you want to achieve, what is the galvanising truth and key priority. What will make your boat go faster?

Here’s a quick tip; how do you want your audience to feel after they’ve heard from you? This exercise will change all your micro nuances to align with an audience outcome, rather than focusing on what they will think about you. It’s simple tool that will make you more effective.

So, plan, plan, plan, your communications and lock them into your diary. Your team may not thank you, but they will be more aligned, engaged, and productive.

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