The ability to communicate is essential to the success of any undertaking and an important factor in the achievement of its objectives.
Communication does not just happen. It must be organized, developed, and built. The first step in the process is to define a communications strategy.
A good communications strategy allows you to exercise better control over your work. A communications strategy removes doubt, emphasizes planning, and involves all the project participants.
Defining the communications strategy is a task that is best carried out as a group. In addition to pooling expertise, a group approach has the even more important advantage of building on interactions between the participants.
Even a small-scale communications strategy will facilitate your work. After all, a small-scale plan is better than no plan at all and you may be able to develop and perfect it as you go along.
Communication strategies need to be reviewed regularly. Circumstances change; objectives change; audiences change. Drawing up a communication strategy is an art, not a science and there are lots of different ways of approaching the task. The key questions that need to be answered and which form the framework for a communication strategy are:
When the undertaking is a xpto project that has achieved good results, it becomes imperative to disseminate those results — otherwise the work will have been in vain. But, how do we communicate those results? How can we convert the data into knowledge? Data that are not shared or are shared with only a few people are not very valuable. A successful communications strategy will enhance the value of your poject considerably.
One suggestion for such an approach to communications strategy is as follows:
- Defining the strategy – Essential Elements
2. Understand the Communication Channels Chosen
The Essential Elements illustrate some core truths of communications:
- We can only communicate what we know.
- Communications is a two-way process. The better we listen the audience, the better we’ll be able to answer their needs.
- Effective communicators know what an audience needs to know, what language they understand, and what they look at and listen to.
- Communications are the most visible single activity we engage in, requiring extra delicacy – say the wrong thing or present ourselves incorrectly and the damage could be severe and lasting.
- We should develop tools that fit the channels available for the message.
- We must develop messages that respect the cultural context of our audiences.
- We must understand and respect our communications abilities and limits, as well as our time and resources: communications can be time- and skill-intensive work.
- We must learn from our mistakes and our successes to improve our future communications.
Be patient, communicating takes time.