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The 5 W's of Communication

Posted by Denise on 16 May 2012 | 0 Comments

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Ensuring communications are effective - that is reach their target and hit the mark in terms of what you want people to understand and remember – is a skill.  Below are some tips for you to think about the next time you’re nominated as the spokesperson, or you need to craft up a communications plan.  I call them the 5 W’s.


..Should be told?

  • Everyone who needs to be told about something should be told
  • Openness is the key (although there will always be some things which are not disseminated as widely as others)


..Should they be told?

  • All affected employees should be told at the same time to avoid spread of rumours
  • Brief those internally before those externally.  You don’t want staff finding out about change from the media.
  • Make an announcement following a significant event or decision


.. What should they be told?  - use Problem, Solution, Action thinking

  • Tell them Why (we are doing this/need to change)
  • Tell them what results you are looking for
  • Tell them what you will be doing differently
  • Tell them what this means for them


..Should the message be conveyed?

  • Choose the most effective means of getting your message across.  Check your communications channels are working for you.
  • The kick-off should always be verbal communication from the most senior person.  Written and electronic material is good as a follow-up and reinforces information. Make sure your message  gets across to the right people to avoid rumours and hearsay.


..Should control it?

  • If it is a critical part of the programme’s success; responsibility should lie with the most senior executive.
  • The project manager will normally have input into it
  • Human Resources  will normally be consulted
  • Any communications people, if appropriate, will normally be involved

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