Communication is key to successful leadership whether at the corporate level or in a small business. A strong communications strategy will ensure that your message is received and understood by your intended audience. According to Lee Froschheiser, the president and CEO of Map Consulting (MAP), the six basic functions of management are leading, planning, organizing, staffing, controlling and communicating. Froschheiser states that having a clear communication strategy ties these functions together and is the most important quality in great leadership. A written communication strategy is a document that states your objectives, your goals, identifies your audience, offers tools and a timetable, and plans evaluations. A communication strategy encompasses all forms of communication.
Survey your audience to discover how current communication is received. You need to know what every branch of the corporate structure is doing about communication. Many firms hire outside assistance for this part of the process, but it is expensive. This is a detailed assessment that looks at communication from the top down to every department to discover the purpose and success of the current communication process. Gather the information you need from staff interviews, focus groups, surveys, brainstorming sessions and clients.
List your objectives and purpose. To create a broad corporate strategy you must define your objectives and clearly state the desired result. You may want to create an internal communication strategy as well as an external communication strategy. Internally your objectives may be to keep employee teams informed, optimize product delivery, and create an efficient communications center. Externally you may want to increase your client base, reach government clients, create visibility within your industry, etc.
Determine your audience. Your audience is made up of individuals and companies with whom you do business. Government contracts should be included as well as private clients. List every source with whom your business interacts. Each group may have different communication needs.
List and describe the tools your company will use to communicate. These tools may be software, email marketing, fliers, billboards, newsletters, video conferencing, Internet advertising and more. Every possible opportunity for communication must be considered during this process.
Establish a time line. Create a calendar with project deadlines for each project on your list. Objectives should be organized into weekly and monthly time periods.
Include a method for evaluating your communication strategy for measurable results. Create bi-weekly or monthly progress reports, formal reports for staff meetings, periodic briefings for department heads and corporate executives, and an end-of-the-year annual report.
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