Communicate, communicate, communicate!

“Strategic communication is at the core of effective leadership. Through a leader’s use of verbal and written symbols employees are motivated or deflated, informed or confused, productive or apathetic. A leader’s ability to carve off the verbal fat and get to the meat of an issue, idea or plan will find success at every turn.” –Reed Markham, Ph.D.

Communicating change strategy seems to be one of the biggest challenges leaders have. A colleague of mine fondly reminds me that in order to get important messages across to various stakeholders (students, employees, business and community leaders, etc.), it is vital to think about communicating “8 times and 8 ways.” Yes, in order for a message to hit its mark, it needs to be repeated at least 8 times using various methods like: town halls, open forums, established meetings, email messages, written letters, webinars, recorded videos, etc.

Creating a communication plan can help you identify key messages that help employees be motivated and productive rather than confused or apathetic. Here is a tool adapted from Dan Olson of the Star Collaborative, that I find particularly helpful when thinking about crafting your communication plan. (Click on the diagram below to enlarge the type.)

Communication framework

In addition, there are a myriad of resources available for communications planning on MindTools. This link is particularly helpful: http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/CommunicationsPlanning.htm

What communication planning tools have you found helpful in communicating change strategy?

Anita Rios

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