Communication Strategies during Event Management
a) Communication Strategy for Success
Communication strategy is the “what, who, why, when, how, and where” of conveying a message. In this fast paced world, information travels at the speed of light and leads to undesirable consequences if only half the story (or a one sided opinion) is echoed in the marketplace.
Communication strategies help the event manager to propagate information in a structured and controlled manner. An ideal strategy details the structure of information flow, the message, the correct audience to address, potential vehicles to carry the message, resources required to fulfil, and feedback mechanisms to learn from the whole exercise.
These strategies form the blueprint to inform us, as well as to be informed by others. Communications strategies also can be used to expedite the flow of information in sudden, unfolding, but structured events. Communication Strategies can help you think your way through a situation.
b) The Basic steps of developing a communication strategy are:
- 1. The Need for the Communication Strategy: Identify the reason
determine why the communication is necessary would be the first step in developing a communication strategy. You should devout some time defining a single, focused message that requires communication. Ask yourself:
What is the issue to which you are responding?
What actions are you taking that warrant development of a strategy?
Also, decide what you want to achieve with this communication. Are you asking for a response, providing information, encouraging an action, increasing awareness, building consensus, changing behaviour or something else?
2. The Message: Identify the message that is to be conveyed.
To determine what you want to communicate, identify and define all messages. This step might involve a brainstorming session where all possible message ideas are listed. Focus on two to three key messages and rank them by importance, timeliness, or other factors. Bring the whole message together and look at it from a Big Picture perspective to see if it conveys what needs to be conveyed
3. The Audience: Identify the target audience for the Communication
Once the messages are identified, ask yourself:
Who is involved, affected, interested? What information do they need? How are they likely to react? What are their concerns? What information do they already have?
By answering the probable audience questions, you will improve the effectiveness of the message and increase the efficiency of the delivery mechanism to be developed. You also need to spend some time finding out the best time and place to communicate. Some messages are best received on weekdays, others on weekends.
Understand how the setting might affect the message. Once you have made a list of all potential settings for message delivery, analyze how the settings might affect the way your messages will be received. Will the setting be formal or informal? Perhaps “good news” should be shared in formal settings and “bad news” in informal settings-or vice versa.
4. Determine measures for success
How will you know your message has been well received and understood?
One measure might be the number of people who attended i.e. quantitative
The subscriptions picked up or qualitative like ending up on national television.
What are the end results of your communication? If you understand this well, you can direct the flow of information effectively.
5. Identify the modes of delivery for the communication
Explore vehicles and tools for delivering the message. How will you reach key stakeholders? Note that the reach and impact of your message will increase if the same message is distributed via multiple vehicles more than one time.
Some of the vehicles and tools for delivering the message include:
- Public notices
- Responsiveness summaries
- Mailing information
By planning out a proper utilization of existing resources, you can minimize cost incurred on building additional vehicles for communication.
6. Gathering Feedback
The only way to be efficient is to learn from experience. Setting a target and comparing the actual results to it can be one of the readily available feedbacks.
Encourage feedback by showing the attendees how their input was used. Evaluate the results and refine the strategy. Based on attendees feedback and measures for success, evaluate the implementation of your strategy. What are its strengths? Where can it be improved? How should your communication strategy be amended to ensure continued effectiveness?
Remember any communication strategy is just that, a strategy. It should not replace the process of actually communicating with your audience. It needs to be flexible enough to allow for a change in the message or in the audience. Consult your strategy often to remind yourself of your goals, messages, and audiences. Document successes and shortcomings to learn how your communication strategy can be improved.