When do you flex your strategic muscles as a professional communicator? 

The IC Kollectif research brief License to Operate offers some sound advice about how internal communication professionals can strengthen their success as “facilitators, strategic leaders, and creative partners.” 

Looking at both “what we do” and “how we do it” are important as we strengthen our value and better showcase our capabilities. I couldn’t agree more with IC Kollectif’s findings. However, the findings in the research brief have sparked an important practical question that I think deserves some attention – and that is the question of “when.” 


When do you flex your strategic muscles as a professional communicator? 

While all of our work can be strategic, there’s a specific pivot point when we all make a decision about whether or not a request for our services requires further communication planning, specifically, the creation of a communication plan. 

I’ve developed a list of 24 questions/triggers that helps me (and my clients) better understand when there is a need to create a communication plan. 

For example, a plan may become a requirement when more than one department is involved. A plan may also be required when there is significant risk or a crisis. And depending on your organization, a plan may be required when the customer becomes a critical audience. These are just some of the triggers I’ve used over the course of my career.  What I know for sure is that my list of questions/triggers have helped set me (and my clients) up for increased success.

I’m curious about your experience.

So, think about the moment when you receive a request, challenge or opportunity that requires your assessment as a professional communicator. I want to understand more about this moment, because it is when we decide to use our strategic muscles as a communicator.  

So tell me…

  • What questions do you ask yourself (and your clients) to assess whether or not the request for service merits a communication plan?

  • And further, are you and your peers asking similar questions when working with your respective clients? 

Share your answers by commenting below. 

No doubt, there may be some unique questions on your list. But I’m thinking there will be some definite similarities across our field.

If you’re interested in getting my list of 24 triggers, as well as an updated trigger list inclusive of input received here, let me know below. Hopefully the list will help you and others on your team get clarity on the question of “when.”

Leave the questions you ask in the comment section below.