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Don't Plan Before You Know the Problems
By: Doug Bedell
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We've happened upon a post by Mack Communications on preparing a communications plan. The importance of having a plan is basic. But Mack starts the process a key step short — research to uncover possibly overlooked issues. That means interviewing unlikely, even hostile, sources to determine how a client is coming across already, before you start planning to improve their prospects.

"A communications plan," Mack says, "is a good opportunity for your team to step back from the daily grind and spend some time contemplating the big picture." True, except that you don't do that solely in a conference room. First, you've got to be out in your client's setting, establishing how they are already being perceived, or not. You plan to alter reality, but, first, you have to establish what your base reality appears to be, by doing some fearless interviewing, observing and listening well. Planning needs to be a well-informed process or it can go sadly awry.   

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About the Author
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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