How boring and positively UNspontaneous. How staid. Planning communication! Instead of being off-the-cuff and free, and truthful. Right?
But how is planning communication exciting? Firstly, valuable context: at work, we’re getting ready to do a communication planning workshop for an organisation that works in a tricky space.
To outside appearances, it’s a pretty simple process. We get some info from them, run a workshop with people, then come back with a plan.
We do a whole lot of work in the meantime to make the workshop work. We research before working with the organisation, do more research after, do a plethora of interviews and thinking and analysing beforehand.
In some ways, I would argue that the communication plan, the shining ‘holy grail’ of the process, isn’t even the final product. I think the shared understanding that comes from people in the organisation sitting around and thrashing out all the issues is the ‘shiniest’ benefit of the process.
The other thing is, the whole process appeals to my perfectionist, comprehensive nature. See, we get to go over so much material, gather each item’s small gems, interview everyone and make sure all the issues are covered off, then analyse it and dump it (carefully) onto a proverbial table at the workshop.
Before having done this process, I would never have guessed one could get so darn much out of talking. But each issue and possible solutions are sifted through, and the most important parts are picked up. And if it’s done well, most people are pretty happy with the result. And everyone goes forward on the same page.
Now, my boss would say that that’s not the end, and that a communication plan lives and breathes on, but that’s for another day…