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September 3, 2015

Barriers Communicators Face #5 —Little or No Planning

Research shows that a typical leader spends 70-80% of his or her week communicating.  Yet only spends 10-15% of that time planning communication


How can you tell if your leader has this line of thinking?

You’ll hear your leader saying or doing the following:

• “I’m too busy to plan.”

• “That can wait.”

• “Let’s talk about that later.”

• “I come across as more genuine when I’m spontaneous with employees.”

• You recognize that your executive prefers to ad lib or “wing it,” versus working a thoughtful, strategic communications plan.

• You are constantly reinventing the wheel when it’s time to communicate.

Here are some starting points for a conversation:

• “For your communications to be effective and drive the outcome you want, we need to plan your communication. Talk to me about what you want to accomplish.”

• “We can maximize your visibility, impact and merchandise your results though a strategic communication plan. I’d like to develop a draft for us to review together.”

• “Why is this different from budgeting or fiscal year planning?”

• “If we were working on a project for a client, we wouldn’t create the project just days before it was due. We would plan and carefully orchestrate initiatives to ensure a positive response.”

• “I need time to do quality work for you.”

• “Planning drives accountability; the more we plan, the more sure we can be of action.”

• “We’ll make sure all your messages reflect your voice and highlight the key themes that are most important to you. You’ll be more effective in the long run and still come across like the real you.”

You’ll want to show your leader that thoughtful, purposeful and planned communication will help him or her achieve the outcomes they want.

Here’s what you can do:

• Explain the consequences of not planning communication in terms of time, money, and resources being wasted.

• Develop a draft timeline of the ideal process for the leader, and get on his/her calendar to review.

• Develop your own core message: have your own mini-business case ready on the role of communication – your elevator speech, proof points and stories (including success stories from other parts of the business).

Develop a communication plan and platform for your leader, including personal stories that help the leader create an emotional connection with audiences.

• Be outcome-oriented in your approach and encourage leaders to think that way also.

• Ask leaders key questions they may not have thought about to show them communications is a sophisticated discipline and requires planning.

• Demonstrate value when you’re at the table…through your actions.

• Don’t bite off too much at first; solve smaller challenges the leader values.

What can you start doing to help your leader plan their communications?

-David Grossman


Collect some strategies for your leadership arsenal that will enable you to plan more effectively. Download the free eBook, Tips, Tactics, & Strategies for Your Leadership Toolbox by clicking below.



Tag(s): Leadership

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