like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people." – William Yeats (Irish Poet)
Anthony through Kipling to Yeats, there are many lessons in literature about communication and the need to keep it simple.
Start with your User Proposition
By this stage, you will already have developed a
Strategy, Plans, Mission Statements and the like – but the chances are that the language used during that process was very much directed towards management decision-makers and
It would be a mistake to simply take those mantras and start peddling them with users. Instead, one needs to convert these aspirations into a simple
statement of intent, as to what users can expect to see over time. Why not be ambitious:
"All the information and tools I
need to do my job, together in one place, easily accessible and ready to use"
Decompose the Proposition
The long term target is set, but now you need to
break it down into chunks of time and functionality bundles. Be as specific as you dare without over-promising.
Three Themes for your Comms Plan
A good rule of thumb is to group your chunks and
bundles under three themes (as most human beings find three things memorable but more difficult to recall):
Working Productively – Doing my job better, quicker &
cheaper through use of online tools to manage myself, my role, my team & my tasks
Working Together – Collaboration, Team Working, Knowledge-Sharing, Partners and Supplier Extranets
Serving Customers - Customer insight, Competitor activity, Service Support Tools, Performance Monitoring
Key audiences for the Communications Plan should be built from the results of your Stakeholder Analysis, but will almost certainly include the following groups:
A good Comms Plan includes the Comms Strategy & Principles,
the User Proposition, Key Messages (grouped into themes), Key Audiences, Delivery Channels, Success Measures and the Event Plan itself.
My own (self
styled) pro-forma for a Comms Plan is included in the downloads box (panel right).
Communication Delivery Channels
The following delivery channels may be appropriate for
communicating key messages:
- Face to Face Meetings - Existing Events and Forums - Project Roadshows - Email and/or Instant Messaging - Legacy Intranet or Internet Sites - Use of Poster Campaigns & Desk Drops - External Press Releases & Coverage - Company Recruitment Brochures - Results Announcements, AGMs, Briefings - Pensions / Shareholder Newsletters
You will note that external audiences are not excluded, as many of them may well be accessing the portal through an extranet or interested in what the company is doing to invest in
it's people and become more profitable.
What is success?
Bear in mind that everyone in your company – and many beyond –
are very interested in your humble little intranet project! Communicate frequently across many channels to many different audiences. Your project (if you are doing it right) will be the one
they talk about over lunch in the canteen!