“I guess I never got the memo…”
We’ve all heard this a million times… We may have even said it ourselves. Whether it was the change of the start time of a cookout or specifics around attire for a friend's wedding, we’ve all felt out of the communication loop before.
But what if it was a memo about an important announcement about your company, a project you were working on, or changes in management? These are things that could greatly affect your job performance, and even put a serious dent in your workday.
This is why most projects have communication plans, which detail who owns which “piece” of a project, which methods of communication should be utilized and for what, and an escalation path. A communication plan is a simple yet incredibly effective way to keep an entire team on the same page.
What is a Communication Plan?
A communication plan is a detailed plan that defines exactly how specific information should be communicated throughout an organization or project. Not only does the policy declare who should be receiving the information, but how and when they receive it. From there, the plan should lay out how it's passed throughout the company.
A well-thought-out plan should have rules and regulations for any situation that may occur.
4 Types of Communication Plans and Examples of Each
Since there are many different circumstances that need to be accounted for, different types of communication plans can be used to accommodate them. Because each company is unique in its own way, a communication plan should reflect the needs of the company. As a result, one type of communication plan might be a better fit over another.
Here are the top four most common types of communication plans:
1. Project Communications
Project Communication plans typically relay information related to a specific project that needs to be communicated to all project stakeholders. This information typically includes an adjusted deadline, additional deliverables, risks or challenges, or changes in scope.
Before distributing a mass email to the entire team that sends the team running in different directions, a communication plan details how to best treat certain messages and communications, and the process for doing so.
Project Communications Example:
To show this type of communication plan in action, let’s assume a client reached out to the account manager with a request to change the imagery for an entire social media campaign. The steps in place to take care of the request may look something like this:
Plan Type: Imagery replacement request
Project: Project ABC
- Account Manager discusses tasks and plan of attack with Project Manager
- Project Manager informs stakeholders of changes to the project with specific assignments for each person within the project along with the adjusted deadline
- Team members each follow up with communication confirmation/questions/concerns
Though very simple, this basic plan ensures that the action item is communicated to the team lead, a plan is put in place, and all appropriate members of the project are informed of their specific duties.
2. Internal Communications
Many companies have communication plans in place to inform everyone about changes or news within the company. Since not all information and communication is client-facing, this type of communication plan should come with specific instructions to keep information internal.
Internal Communications Plan Example:
We’ve all been a part of a company-wide email, memo, or newsletter. In this example, the CEO has decided to incorporate an internal referral bonus to anyone who referred someone who filled an open position within the company.
- CEO communicates the details of the bonus with the individual department heads to discuss with their teams
- A company-wide email is delivered to everyone with the specifics
- An “All hands” conference is announced with the specifics again mentioned about the bonus and employees are given the opportunity to ask questions
- A follow-up newsletter is emailed to all employees and posted throughout the offices
This allows each employee to receive the information in different ways and ensure managers know how to communicate as well. Most companies will have a monthly or quarterly internal communications plan that shares this type of information.
3. Process Communications
Process Communication plans are an example of a plan for internal use only but are usually department-specific.
Process Communications Example:
Adding or changing processes isn’t always relevant to an entire company. For example, if an agency wants to change its client onboarding process, there are only a few departments that need to be informed. Their communication plan may look something like this:
- Communicate the “current state” and the “future state” to department and leaders and inform them of the new process
- Department leaders relay the information to the team and train team members accordingly
- New processes will be documented and distributed to team members via email and shared documents
- Department leaders will continuously check to ensure team members are following new processes
This type of communications plan not only communicates that there is a new or a change to a process but also allows department leads and team members the opportunity to learn the new process and put it into action.
4. Marketing Communications
Marketing communications plans are utilized to ensure that target audiences receive the correct messaging. It is also a great way to make sure that the call to action is both appropriate and compelling. When it comes to communicating to consumers or target audiences, it is important to ensure your messaging is correct.
Marketing Communications Example:
Many companies have specific plans in place to confirm their messaging is voiced in the most strategic way possible. In this case, a company is sending out a newsletter to their clientele to promote their newest product. Their communication plan may look something like this:
- Marketing Director assigns a Project Owner and Project Manager.
- The Project Manager schedules an internal strategy call with the team to discuss scope, define requirements, map out deliverables, timelines, and discuss resourcing, stakeholders, and approvers.
- The Project Manager schedules an internal kick-off with all stakeholders and resources to walk through the scope and project plan.
- Once the project plan is approved by the Marketing Director, it is assigned to a writer to craft content.
- After messaging is completed, the Marketing Director ensures it is aligned with brand voice and project plan.
- Once approved, the communication is scheduled for publication or distribution.
These steps are necessary steps to ensure the right message is being delivered to the right audience, and at the right time.
Why Are Communication Plans Important in Project Management?
Communication plans put rules in place to not only create governance around specific communications but also ensure the right people receive the right message and in an appropriate format.
Whether the plan is for all departments, internal teams, target audiences or individual employees, each situation should have a specific communication plan to follow.
Without proper communications plans, it can be very easy for companies to create distance between departments, not disclose important information, or even deliver the wrong messaging to their customers.
How to Use Rindle to Build a Communication Plan
Rindle is designed with all the right features and functionality to not only create communication plans but also store them right beside your projects.
With Rindle’s no-code interface, the appropriate team members can create these descriptive plans and processes and include them for their team to see and implement as needed. Rindle gives you the ability to create the plans you need to fit your company's needs for every situation.
Visit Rindle for a free trial in creating communication plans for your agency.