How to Communicate Meeting and Workshop Results


Guardian of Change (Communications Plan)

Purpose

The Guardian of Change is better known as a Communications Plan.

Communications Plan

Empirical research shows that it is best to guard and protect communications than to simply shout out.  Different audiences need different parts of the message, and may react differently to descriptive terms used and the media used to communicate results.

The overall purpose is to get a group to agree on how it will communicate the results of its meeting and workshop efforts to others.  Students with study groups average a GPA that is 0.50 points higher than students without groups.  Why?  Socialization.

Rationale

At minimum, team members need an “elevator speech” that can deliver an effective synopsis of the meeting results.  At the other extreme, if the meeting is strategic, there could be numerous audience types such as the investment community, suppliers, trade personnel, etc.  If so, identify the key audience members before discussing the message, medium of communication, and frequency of communication for each.

When it is important that it sounds like the participants attended the same meeting together, consider agreeing on the rhetoric used to describe the meeting.  Typically, the two major audiences are:

  1. What do we tell our bosses or superiors ?
  2. What do we tell people dependent  on our results (ie, stakeholders) ?

Method

After identifying the target audiences, ask for each, “What are we going to tell _____?”  List the messages as bullet points that begin to homogenize (ie, create consistency) the meeting participants’ descriptions in the hallway about what was accomplished.

If necessary, discuss HOW TO communicate with the target audience such as face-to-face, email, etc.  For complicated communications plans, further discuss frequency or how often to set-up regular communications.  It may be necessary to schedule the communications so that the superiors are informed before other stakeholders.  Failing to plan suggests planning to fail. Meeting participants will use separate methods and discrete rhetoric that may generate different understanding among stakeholders who are expected to share similar understanding.

Proactively consider a 3*30 Report, a written summary of results that should take no longer than 30 minutes to write and no longer than three minutes to read and reply.  The 3*30 Report may be ideal for executives and other team members who are interested but not fully invested.

Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody. For detailed support, see your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MGRush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI).

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