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The Communication Strategy Handbook

Toolkit for Creating a Winning Strategy

Betteke van Ruler and Frank Körver

Strategic development is one of the most daunting challenges that faces any professional, no matter the field. After all, stakes are high. Developing effective strategies can put you on the path to becoming a trusted advisor and a valued employee.

The Communication Strategy Framework introduced in this handbook has been designed to help professionals make targeted choices toward strategic communication. Taking an iterative approach and continually reflecting on whether your choices remain congruent enables you to continually adapt to changing circumstances while staying in command. Linear planning models are ineffective. Quick strategy development can revolutionize the communication function and strengthen the relationship amongst members of a professional team. Linking communication and business strategy is the number one challenge for today’s communication practitioners.

The Communication Strategy Framework facilitates the communication professional to forcefully and efficiently make the right choices. It compels individuals to think about how communication can contribute to achieving the organization's or client’s goals. As a result, it provides a clear picture of your communication strategy in one page by putting superfluous details aside and concentrating on the essentials.

The Communication Strategy Framework has proven to be an instant eye-opener. A best-seller amongst professionals in the Netherlands, it is available for the first time in English. This step-by-step guide to creating a winning communication strategy will help communicators of all types, from professionals and clients to students and teachers!

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Building block: Internal Situation

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BUILDING BLOCK INTERNAL SITUATION

UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS HAPPENING INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION IS ESSENTIAL TO MAKING THE RIGHT STRATEGIC CHOICES FOR YOUR COMMUNICATION. WITHOUT THAT CONNECTION, IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO EXPLAIN YOUR STRATEGY’S VALUE.

Most plans start out with an analysis of the outside world. An analysis of the internal situation may follow, or it may not. We see both as being equally important, but think it makes more sense to start with an internal analysis for the following reason. Not everything happening in the world outside is important. The focus should be on matters that affect or could impact the organization, however, it is impossible to know what those matters are until you know and understand the internal situation. Moreover, if you start with what is happening in your surroundings, you run the risk of seeing your internal situation as a limitation; as something that impedes you. This is why the Communication Strategy Framework tackles the internal situation before the external situation. However, since the Framework is designed on an iterative model with building blocks that interact, it is very possible that the subsequent analysis of the external situation may lead you to adjust your focus on the internal situation.

Knowing and understanding your own organization may sound like a straightforward exercise, but in most cases, it’s not. The challenge lies in prioritizing and interpreting your information. What are the main organizational ambitions and challenges in which communication...

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