Miscommunication can be very costly to an organization. It can have a negative effect on the internal affairs of an organization and the organization’s relation with the outside. To ensure effective communication, a communication plan is necessary. A communication plan refers to a written document that outlines how all communications are carried out. It, therefore, lays out plans on how all spoken, written, and electronic communication would be conducted.
Effective communication in an organization is dependent on a communication plan. It is therefore important to be keen when developing a communication plan. The first step in developing a communication plan is to conduct a communication audit. A communication audit would provide important information on how various stakeholders communicate, the objectives of various communication activities, and the effectiveness of the communication activities. A communication audit would also provide an important opportunity to analyze instances of miscommunication. The audit is conducted through observations, brainstorming with communication staff, and interviewing junior and senior staff.
After a successful communication audit, an individual is ready to write a communication plan. Using information obtained from the audit, one would define communication vision and mission and the desired communication objectives. Communication objectives may include centralizing communication, ensuring consistency in communication, and providing excellent services. After defining the communication vision, mission, and objectives, the planner should identify the target audience. The audience may include senior management, employees, shareholder, media, and the public. After identifying the audience, one should define specific communication goals for each audience.
To accomplish specific communication goals, various communication tools can be used. The plan should therefore identify the communication tools that would be used to attain the goals. The tools may include memos, flyers, magazines, websites, and television. After identifying communication tools, a timetable for accomplishing communication goals is created. Various communication activities require resources; therefore, a budget that caters to all communication initiatives should be established. Finally, the communication plan should define criteria for evaluating communication. Evaluations could be in the form of monthly reports, periodic briefings, departmental reports, and annual reports.