• Michelle Caldwell

The key to communicating well

If you ask any manager, or business owner, you'll probably find that one of their biggest challenges is communication. Whether that's internal or external communication, it is a skill and area that requires a lot of practice and intent to get it right; especially when you have a big project happening and you need everyone to be on the same page.


Communication is hard. Making sure everyone has enough context can be tricky, especially if you're busy, stressed out or overwhelmed.


We've discovered a pretty fail-safe reporting template used by journalists (and us!) to make sure you're always giving the right information, in the right order:


Five Ws and One H

* Who

* What

* When

* Where

* Why

* and How

So what does this mean?


Let's start with the basics: 4 Ws


Imagine you and your team are formulating some new growth strategies. Here's an example that your marketing manager could lay out to brief their team:

What: Create a PR Strategy to drive 4000 new subscriptions

Who: David (with support from myself, Sarah and our creative agency)

When: By the end of this week

Where: Shared Drive (/communications)


Now, Why?


To give context and get buy-in on the mission, it's crucial that you detail the why.


Why does this matter?

We've made some major product enhancements that we can leverage to differentiate from our competitors.

Why now?

To hit our growth targets this quarter, we need a significant amount of new subscribers.

Why not other things?

This is not the only thing we'll do, we are also investing in referral and content marketing initiatives.

The process: How?

So by now, you should have agreement and alignment on the 5 W's so you can move into the how.


For example:

"Let's have a working session tomorrow morning to outline our story including the product enhancements, and then David, you can put together the first draft.

After that, we can put together a list of publications we want to be featured in and create a plan for how we pitch to them."


So next time you have a big project to complete and you need your team on-board, think back to the "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How" to help you avoid the pitfalls of miscommunication.


Try setting up a template on Trello, Smartsheet or a workflow on Slack to make this framework just one click away.


Let me know how you get on and if you have any other tips for communicating during a project.



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