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Creating a Winning Communication Plan

With today’s technology, communication in essence should be easier than ever, however it is actually more complex. With thousands of apps, programs and tools available, finding a communication method that works can be very challenging. What one person likes another may despise. Often times, we find an app or tool is perfect for one task but it does not do another well (or at all). Finding a system of communication that works is critical to keep your team working together toward your company’s long-term vision and mission.

It is rare (if ever) that someone says, “I feel like my boss over communicates.” More often we hear things like; “I didn’t know that,” “I am not a mind reader,” or “he/she doesn’t tell us anything.”

This blog will help you create a communication system

 with methods your staff will use

allowing your entire organization

to become more productive.

When developing your communication system, consider the 5 W’s:

  • WHO is the messenger and the recipient
  • WHAT needs to be communicated
  • WHY is the message important
  • WHEN will the message be provided (& how frequently)
  • WHERE (or HOW) will the message be delivered

In this blog, we will focus primarily on the WHEN & HOW, but will start with some brief thoughts on the WHO, WHAT & WHY.

The Who

For all methods of internal and external communication, the messenger must understand the recipient.  Creating your message without the recipient in mind can immediately feel like you are playing a bad round of charades or you just lost at the telephone game. Great leaders take ownership of becoming great communicators.  To further develop your communication skills, the 3rd Level courses in Dynamic Communication, Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication and the Personal Organization Courses are available in our eLearning Portal will allow you to leverage best-practices in our industry.  All Membership Levels have access to these courses and more.

Steps to effective message delivery

  1. Determine who is responsible for creating and delivering the message(s)
  2. Monitor effectiveness for continuous improvement
  3. Embrace technology improvements to improve methods
  4. Understand and educate yourself on generational “language” barriers

“Effective communication is critical to the success

 of any team or organization and its members.

It affects attitudes, motivation, expectations,

emotional dispositions and behaviors.”

~ David P. Yukelson, PhD Sport Psychologist

The What

Determining what the recipients need to know is extremely important.  If you repeatedly communicate information that isn’t necessary (important), the connection with your readers will be lost.  Both what you communicate and the style it is communicated is critical to creating an understandable message.  Deciding “what” needs to be known and “when” will help you create an effective method that provides the right information at the right time to the right people!

Make sure the material makes sense to the receiver.  Often the writer of the message forgets to consider the reader’s perspective.  Clear messages yield clear results.  Have your message proofed before sending. Having another person view the message before sending helps validate that your intent is clear. With proofing, you can determine obstacles that exist that could prevent proper understanding.

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity”

~ Nat Turner

The Why

Beyond the obvious of communicating to move the organization forward and to keep everyone informed, we communicate to collaborate, share decisions and keep records.  If you are looking for some great tips for setting up your daily plan and tracking goals, check out Goal Setting that Gets Results.  With good communication “why” the information is important to the receiver is clear, understood and appreciated.  When the receiver and the messenger both buy into the why, it will cement the commitment to the plan, and your entire team will accomplish more.

“Communicate in a respectful manner

don’t just tell your team members what you want,

but explain to them why.”

~ Jeffrey Morales

The When

Having a consistent and repeatable plan will keep everyone more informed.  Having a primary and secondary method of delivery (more about this in the HOW) will guarantee (or at least increase your chances) of message delivery and comprehension.  Also, make sure to say things more than once and in more than one way to allow for the recipients to have better retention and keep everyone “in the know.”

Create a culture where you never hear “nobody told me.”

Sample Communication Timing Plan:

  1. Daily
    • Huddle Ups
    • Postings
    • Updates
  2. Weekly
    • 1 on 1s
    • Staff Update
    • Leadership Meeting
  3. Monthly
    • Department Meetings
  4. Quarterly
    • All Staff Meeting
    • Company Update
  5. Annually or 2x/ year
    • Staff Get Together

Set your schedule and stick to it!

Our Webinar, “Implementing a Winning Communication Plan” provides more detailed information on design and strategy for each of these items in the plan.  Members will also have access to templates to use for planning. If you would like access to the Webinar and templates, click HERE to choose the membership that best fits your business needs. 3rd Level has a membership level for everyone!

In addition to a plan for the communication, a separate plan must be developed for tracking and follow up for all action items and goals.

  • Determine the objective
  • Set a baseline
  • Get Feedback
  • Track Engagement
  • Set Deadlines & Completion Targets
  • Celebrate Successes
  • Refer to Goal Setting that Gets Results for ideas & downloads

“Unity is strength. . .

when there is teamwork, communication and collaboration,

wonderful things can be achieved.”

~ Mattie Stepanek

The Where & The How

The key in the where (aka the how) is effective delivery that results in engagement.  Getting creative by using visual, verbal and interactive methods will increase retention and engagement as individuals have different primary methods of learning. We’ve all heard, “I’m a visual learner,” right?

Become educated on the best ways to connect based on staffing demographics.  Age and access to technology are key items to consider. Engagement will happen when everyone understands the why.

Sample methods for delivering your message:

  • Email
  • Calls
  • Text
  • Video
  • Paper notes
  • Virtual/Online Bulletin Board
  • Social Media Private Group
  • Physical Posting / Bulletin Board
  • Web-based communication software/apps
  • Face to Face

The options for web-based communication software and apps are endless. Check out this site for a comparison of several apps. Many sites have links where you can search for options, read reviews, do trials etc. Another favorite site for evaluating software is G2.

Our favorite web-based communication tools:

  1. Slack
  2. Microsoft Teams
  3. Remind
  4. Google Suite
  5. ClickUp
  6. Trello
  7. When I Work
  8. Homebase
  9. Zip Time Clock

Always investigate to determine which is best for your business. Choose methods that allow ease of tracking and a way to search for action items and decisions.  Documenting decisions for tracking, follow-up and deadlines is critical.

Wrapping it Up

Our goal in getting this message to you is to provide ideas, guidance and support in order to not only help you to rise to a higher level of success in your communication strategies and systems but overall in your business and personal lives.

Some final reminders:

  • Use formal, informal and unofficial channels
  • Use top down, bottom up and lateral directional styles
  • Providing effective delivery + clarity = engagement and retention
  • Be open and honest
  • Share a common philosophy and goals
  • Be consistent
  • Remember to use the “-ER” from SMARTER Goals – Evaluate/Readjust
  • Track and follow up
  • Remember the Psychological Rule of 7±2 (check out this Zen Business article on business communication that complements many of our points here and elaborates on this point)

From the Small & Smith Coaching Study 2006…

In Athletes ….

Positive reinforcement

Providing encouragement & guidance for mistakes and

Emphasizing personal improvement and fun


Lower attrition

Increased self-awareness

Increased team cohesion

Better relationships

Using what we know from coaching athletes into “coaching” our team of employees will improve all aspects of employee engagement leading to an informed, loyal and long-term team!

“…effective communication begins with mutual respect,

communication that inspires, encourage others to do their best.”

~ Zig Ziglar

Meet The Contributors

The contributors have successfully served children’s activity centers, gymnastics gyms, dance studios, cheer gyms and swim schools worldwide for 35+ years.

Christie Copeland
Christie CopelandConsultant / Speaker
Christie is a business development expert. She is a former gym owner and corporate analyst and owns Champions Choice Consulting.
Barbara Anne May
Barbara Anne MayCCO / Co-Owner
Barbara Anne’s vast industry experience and commitment to help our clients achieve their goals makes her an invaluable asset.
Frank Sahlein
Frank SahleinCEO / Founder
Frank’s inspirational leadership and creative innovation repeatedly takes our team, our clients and many industries to the next level.
author avatar
Barbara Anne May
3rd Level Co-Owner & Communications