This may be because in many people’s minds communication is the thing you do after you’ve done everything else. Last place on the meeting agenda, is almost a case of, ‘all the work has been done, now how do we communicate it?’
With a surname starting with a letter ‘W’, I’m used to being last in the roll-call, so no problem there, but have we really got things the right way round? If communications issues were discussed early on in the planning process, perhaps business planning would be more robust.
Communication won’t normally come first, unless the essence of the project is communication, of course, such as a consultation exercise. But communications considerations can and should feature early in the planning process if it is to help prevent problems later on down the line.
It’s not just about ensuring the best communications outcomes possible for any given project. It’s also about ensuring robust business planning by asking key communications questions which test business assumptions.
My communications questions to clients have led to project business objectives being reworked, or prompted a change of course mid-project. That’s as it should be. Well-placed, and timed, strategic communications questions can help managers to view an old challenge from new and different perspectives.
Doing this, not only enables you to play a more influential role in the running of the business, but increases your value, both perceived and real, as a trusted communications advisor.