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The answer is simple – it’s never too soon to plan communications to help you achieve your business goals. 
Sharing what will happen isn’t top of the list when many businesses start a project, launch a new product, merge, sell or move parts of the company. However it’s one of the things that will make a significant – and measurable – difference to your success. 

Why do I need to plan my business communications? 

Of course, it’s important to work out the business case, the feasibility and the benefits of your plans. 
However, thinking about your communication will really highlight potential areas of resistance and support and the importance of timing – the ‘soft’ issues that can really help or hinder you. This will affect how you go about achieving your goals. 
Just take a look at the impact of poorly communicated plans to change pilot rosters at Ryanair in 2017. It’s just one of a quite a long list of badly thought out messages and campaigns on the part of the airline. 

How do I plan my business communications? 

So, in an ideal world, you should include communications in your risk register for everything from your business continuity plan to your dreams of becoming the world’s favourite provider of whatever your business delivers. 
Make sure someone makes it their responsibility to think the communication issues through. Allow them to challenge your assumptions and to describe the benefits your actions will deliver. 

Who needs to be included in my business communcations? 

Create a ‘stakeholder map’ of all the people and organisations that can make a difference to your success. 
Work out what they already know about you and what they will need to know in order to help you achieve your goals. 
Research what people have said about you and about others who have made similar plans. 
Listen to other people’s views. If it isn’t possible to talk directly with the people who will be affected by your activities, or who are likely to have an influence over your success, then talk to people who can represent their views. Look for community groups, trade organisations, chambers of commerce, for example. 

What should I include in my business communications plan? 

Key messages are the starting point of every effective communications plan. These are the things that everyone needs to know. They need to be included in all your communications. 
Once your key messages are in place you can weave them through everything you say – and do. You can make sure you use them consistently. 
More importantly, these key messages are your touchstone. If you find it is becoming difficult to use them, then you need to review whether the messages were wrong or your goals are changing. 
Either way it’s a good way to make sure you stay on track. 
Plans of every sort can fail if communication is poor. 
Tell your story well and you will improve your chances of success 
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