“Don’t tell me too much too soon.”

The first step in executing a great communication plan is to help your constituents develop awareness of your topic. There are two components to this: the message and the audience. The what and the who.

The message is an explanation of your purpose. The purpose may embody an organizational change or new strategy that you are executing. At this stage, focus on the what. What is it going to be different? What will change? What will be better? What will be new? What might be going away? At this stage, it’s important to help your constituents understand the scope of your purpose.

Leaders sometimes want to rush communications – too much too soon. They might not only share what the purpose is, but why and how things may be different. This only serves to confuse and will not effectively advance your purpose. People need time to process communication messages.

Also consider the audience. For general awareness communication, it’s better to error on the side of more people hearing the message. Even if someone isn’t ultimately directly impacted, someone they work with, or a friend, might be. Use awareness communication to build credibility across all constituents.

For example, if you are planning to execute a strategy that impacts most of the company, communicate with the entire organization. If you are planning to execute a strategy that only impacts a few people in the department, tell the whole department.

I once worked with an executive who was good at this. Early in the massive organizational transformation he was leading, he created messaging for the organization that described the new operating environment – focusing on the what. He used this messaging generally for the entire organization, and then tailored it as he engaged with various functions.

Next week will talk about building desire, the next phase of communication. That is the why and the how.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,

Steve


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