We may be in uncertain times, but we can still have a comms plan

We may be in uncertain times, but we can still have a comms plan

We are living in uncertain times. It makes planning our communication tricky – but not impossible. Afterall, planning is really just about being prepared.

Uncertainty can be used as a reason not to plan even in normal times. Things always change so why develop a communication plan that might be out of date by next week?

Is agile the answer? Communicators increasingly find themselves working on agile projects, but those principles are rarely applied to communication planning. It tends not to be something in which we’re trained, planning is often still thought of as being a linear process – if it’s thought about at all.

I recently found a great quote about supporting agile projects, it’s from the Effective Change Manager’s Handbook* :

‘We don’t know if we will plant barley or cabbages but we will clear the ground, plough and nourish the soil, so when we know, we’re ready.’

This is a much nicer way of putting what I’ve been saying:

Let’s not call it a plan, let’s call it a framework.

It’s what I suggested on the webinar the APM People Specific Interest Group (SIG) ran recently on communicating in challenging times.
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Listen to the webinar on Communicating in uncertain times for more about the principles of good communication planning. Find out more about daily webinars by APM, click here.

* Sidhu, R., Skelsey, D., Smith, R., & King, D. (2014). The Effective Change Manager’s Handbook: Essential Guidance to the Change Management Body of Knowledge. Kogan Page.

Posted by Ann Pilkington on 16th Jun 2020

About the Author

Ann is the author of Communicating Projects published by Gower and a chapter author in Exploring Internal Communication published by Gower. She is co-founder and director of PR Academy which is a leading provider of education and training in all aspects of communication. Her early career was in journalism before moving to PR and communication rolls with major companies including Barclays, BT and The AA. She works with the People SIG.

Image: Roobcio/Shutterstock

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