How to Develop an Effective Communication Plan

Matthew Becker

Previously, we looked at what a communication plan is, and its importance in implementing a competency-based learning program. Now, let’s take a closer look at what a communication plan needs and the tone it should convey.

What does the communications plan need?

A communications plan gathers information from:

  • A change initiatives analysis
  • The stakeholder analysis
  • The communications analysis

We will need information from these analyses in order to understand:

  • Who the recipient stakeholders of the communications will be
  • What the messaging will be
  • How that communications messaging will be delivered
  • When that communications messaging will be delivered
  • Who will be responsible for delivering that communications messaging

Change Initiatives Analysis

A current initiatives analysis looks at current changes or projects at an organization that may influence or affect the implementation of the competency-based learning program. The goal is to identify issues — related to these changes or projects — that could impede or complicate competency-based learning program implementation. Here, this analysis acts as a kind of “insurance” for the implementation of the competency-based learning program (and thus the communications plan). It helps pinpoint potential risks involved.

Stakeholder Analysis

The stakeholder analysis identifies who the main stakeholders (or targets) of the communication are. Stakeholders are individuals who play an integral role in the communication related to the implementation of a competency-based learning program. A stakeholder might also be a member of an organization who is affected by the change, or any other person (or group of people) who have a significant stake in program implementation. An example of this could be a project manager or other senior-level individual.

Communications Analysis

The communications analysis builds on information gleaned from the ongoing change initiatives analysis and stakeholder analysis to determine the most appropriate methods of communication. Here, the analysis asks: “How do we want to communicate within the organization?” The communications analysis should thus identify the specific, different types of communication preferable for the organization.


What should the tone of a communications plan be?

Tone refers to the impression produced by the content and messaging. As is also true for building courses, tone is important when crafting content and messaging for competency-based learning program implementation because it can stir specific feelings in the receiver of the communication.

Tone can carry a scholarly and formal to give the impression of serious, no-nonsense writing. This means content and messaging that is rich in jargon or terms specific to a certain area of expertise, such as:

  • Scientific language
  • Medical language
  • Technical language

Tone may also be chatty and relaxed and impart a feeling that the content and messaging is light hearted. A consistent tone can contribute to upholding the overall brand of an organization, and the language and accessibility of that organization.

Once you have gathered pertinent information, and have decided on the tone of your communication plan, you can then choose how you want to deliver the plan. Next, you’ll need a learning partner in the development of a competency-based learning program.

This is the second article in a three-part series covering Chapter 6 of our Skilling Up textbook. To access other articles in this series, please navigate below.

Article 1 - What Is A Communication Plan?

Article 3 - Implementing Your Communications Plan

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Matthew Becker

Matthew applies his many years of experience in teaching, EdTech, and learning resource development to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences. As an Instructional Designer at BaseCorp, he is keen on leveraging educational technologies to help learners reach "Aha!" moments in new and exciting ways.