Communication Planning

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In this lesson, we'll review the basics of effective communications.

Effective Communication


Under-communicating and over-communicating both create challenges. We're going to put together a plan for the right communications that are stakeholder-specific.

Each stakeholder group has unique perspectives and needs, so you need a plan that addresses each group individually. You will notice that the Communication Tab of the Stakeholder Engagement & Communication Template will atomically populate your list of stakeholders. You must communicate to each stakeholder.

Your plan must include:

  • Who are you going to tell?
  • What are you going to tell them?
  • When are you going to tell them?
  • Why are you telling them?
  • Where/How are you telling them?

We want the right communication at the right time and using the right communication avenue.

Types of communications:

- Email
- One-on-one meetings
- Newsletters
- Live or recorded training
- Brochures, flyers, posters or post-cards
- Electronic billboards and posters
- Department or "all-hands" meetings
- Videos
- Text message
- Social media

Keep in mind that different people have different communication styles so consider using multiple methods for each group.

Key Messages & Desired Response


When creating your Key Message, put yourself in your stakeholder's perspective and ask "what's in it for me?". Ask yourself what benefits or impacts your project and improvement have to this stakeholder group. Tailor your message to their specific needs. 

Think about Desired Response, or the response that you want your stakeholder to have as a result of your communication. Is your communication for information only? Do you need the stakeholder to take action? Do you need to sway their perspective and gain support?

Your answer to these questions will help you determine the best communication method to use. 

For your more influential stakeholders, you will need continual communications throughout the project. Ask them for feedback into the best way to communicate with them.

Open, honest and transparent communication will drive buy-in. Unless the project is highly confidential, don't keep secrets! The more you are willing to share, the more your stakeholders will trust you.

Consider your messenger. The project sponsor and team leader aren't the only ones who can deliver communications. Remember your influencers and champions? Engage them in your communications. Hearing updates from people within the team creates credibility for your project.

If your organization has a communications department, ask them for help! Show them your communications plan and ask them how it can be improved.

Complete the Communication Plan tab in the Stakeholder Engagement & Communication Template.

Key Messages & Desired Response


  • Understand the Voice of the Customer (VOC)
  • Utilize the Stakeholder Engagement & Communication Plan
  • Develop a plan to "Make the Shift" to build engagement and support from supportive (and unsupportive) stakeholders
  • Hold Stakeholder Conversations using the Guide

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