The ability to develop a plan to understand and meet the communications needs of the intended audiences and/or stakeholders.


Nothing helps move things along better than a good plan. Communications planning involves a constant awareness of the communication needs of your target audiences and planning how to best meet their communications needs.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29

Skilled Characteristics

  • Scopes

    Accurately identifies relevant communication audiences and their communication needs

  • Goals

    Defines communication objectives and goals

  • Vehicles

    Properly utilizes various communication vehicles (i.e. email, phone, group meeting, 1-on-1 meeting, Skype, SMS, Facebook)

  • Schedules

    Develops communication schedules and assignments

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Unskilled Characteristics

  • Lack of Plan

    Doesn’t plan in advance what people may need to know, do or understand

  • Spontaneous

    May be a seat-of-the-pants communicator, only deciding what to say or communicate at the last minute

  • Unorganized

    Doesn’t follow an orderly method of setting communication goals and laying out work

  • Lacks Process

    May be uncomfortable with structure and process flow, thus does not consider how to communicate what, when, how and from whom

  • Dislikes Planning

    May dislike planning and come across to others as unthoughtful about what people need and want to know

  • Not Patient

    May not have the patience to take the time necessary to establish communication goals and objectives

“A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”

– Unknown

Causes of Weakness

  • Naive

    Feels that people should already be aware of things and only need to be told once

  • No Need

    Believes that people don’t need to be communicated to

  • Impatient

    Too impatient to spend time planning communications with others

  • Unstructured

    Has difficulty organizing and planning tasks

  • Time

    Poor time management; doesn’t get around to planning

“It is not distance that keeps people apart, but a lack of communication.”

– Unkown


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • What is a Communication Plan?

    WHAT IS A COMMUNICATION PLAN? It is a written document that describes:

    1) What you want to accomplish with your communications (what your objectives are)

    2) The ways in which those objectives can be accomplished (your communication strategy, approach and timeline)

    3) To whom your communications will be addressed (your audiences)

    4) And how you will measure the results of your program (evaluation)

  • Communication Vehicles

    COMMUNICATION VEHICLES: Make sure you are communicating in a way that people like to receive. (i.e. email, phone, SMS, social media, newsletters; online and virtual meetings, conference materials, handbooks, processes/policies; brochures, business cards, public relations materials; letterhead, logo, and envelopes; surveys; certificates and awards; annual reports; signs/banners, speeches)

  • Where to Get Information

    WHERE TO GET INFORMATION: In order to know what to communicate, consider:

    1) Your team’s vision/mission statement and values

    2) A survey of the communication needs of your target audiences

    3) Committee and leadership input

    4) Discussions with other staff, partners and affiliates

  • Develop a Plan

    1) Conduct a communication audit to identify what the communication needs are of your target audiences.
    2) Define your overall communication BROAD goals.
    3) Define your communication audiences.

    4) Define specific SMART goals for each BROAD goal.

    5) Identify what kind of communication tools you want to use, including what technology will be most effective.

    6) Establish a timetable for communications, along with key messages and who each message should come from, using what communication vehicle.

    7) Decide how you will evaluate your communication results.