Now that you have a communication plan that's 95% complete, how do you present it to your internal clients in a way that makes your case and convinces them to support it? Here's how to share your plan in a way that fosters learning and participation.

Visual plans gain buy-in faster
Once you've finalized your annual communication plan, your next likely step is to share it with others. But due to the minute detail involved in most plans, sharing it can be overwhelming both for you and the recipients. Even in a boiled down slide presentation, you many notice people's eyes glazing over after the fifth or sixth strategy. What can you do?

The solution is to create a one-page visual

"map" or "graph" of your plan. The best approach for this is an 11"x17", full color, nicely designed sheet that depicts major components of your plan. The main benefit of making your plan visual is that it allows you to take it on the road, talk through it quickly and, since most adults are visual learners, gain buy-in more readily. The visual is also easily posted on a wall to keep you and your team focused on your stated mission, objectives and tactics.

Here are some tips for creating a great visual of your plan:
  • Think about your audience—Will they be most concerned with your objectives and strategies, or roles and tactics? Create your visual map accordingly and keep in mind, you may need to do different visual depictions for different audiences.
  • Design matters—This is one case where it pays to bring in a professional designer who can help you lay out your one-pager in the most appealing way. Sketch it out for the designer so he/she clearly understands the goal of the visual and how it will be used.
  • Keep it simple—Stick to the top-line details of your plan. You can always pull out the big, bound document if someone wants more information.
How two leading companies have used one-page visual depictions of their plans:
  • A pharmaceutical company needed to share the main components of its annual plan with a global team, so its visual included the communication mission and principles, the plan's objectives, communication roles for leaders and managers, and key strategies all on one page.
  • A research consulting company needed to outline its planned tactics, so it developed a calendar where each month outlined key tactics and an icon system linking tactics to key strategies.