Comms Plan

This tool assists to identify, understand and address the various interest groups in a dual career environment. By using the tool, stakeholder communication can be enhanced to facilitate the implementation of dual career services.

Replay Guideline Video
Introducing the tool

Trying to implement policy change, introducing a new support programme, or simply mastering a project or putting a plan into action all require one thing in common: effective stakeholder management. Dual career, by definition, deals with a large number of various stakeholders. They are found in different sectors such as sport, education and the labour market as well as in private spheres of life.

These stakeholders, knowingly or not, are likely to have a range of different interests and responsibilities with regard to dual career. They could be strong supporters of any dual career initiatives or, however, oppose, block and prevent them from ever reaching success. It is therefore important to identify the key stakeholders and understand their needs and expectations within and outside dual career.

This is where the tool Comms Plan comes into play. It helps to not only understand your most relevant stakeholders but also assists you in strategically determining the actions and communication steps you need to take to gain their support and increase their understanding for dual career services. The tool can be used stand-alone or in combination with Policy Push and Quality Control to implement new projects from small personal ones to large scale institutional missions.

How to use

Follow the instructions to apply this tool and browse our manifold resources to find out more about the addressed topic.

About the downloads

Custom Messaging (pdf) helps you to make your messaging with key stakeholders more effective. In essence, a message is the main point of information you want to communicate with your audience for them to hear, understand, and remember. A message shall aim to clarify meaning and provide the takeaway headline for the issue you want to communicate. A good message is concise (short and clear, without any unnecessary words), tailored (depth of information is adapted to communicate effectively with the target audience), relevant (communicated to the right target audience; balancing what needs to be communicated with what the audience needs to know), simple (easy-to-understand-information that avoids jargon and acronyms), compelling & strategic (contains meaningful information that will stimulate action by the audience) and memorable (easy to recall and repeat, avoiding long sentences). When sharing a message with key stakeholders, it is important to consider the channel of communication (verbal, written) and the tone that will be used when delivering the message.

In the context of complex dual career environments, the identification of stakeholders can seem like an overwhelming task. The Custom Messaging – Stakeholder Map (png) or a mind map (with various resources listed in our Useful Links section) will support you in this step.

The Power/Interest Matrix (pptx) assists you to prioritise the identified stakeholders. Select those that you really need to have on board for your work or project.

  1. Use the Custom Messaging (pdf) worksheet and follow the steps outlined below. Understanding your key stakeholders is about figuring out what they are likely to feel about and how they react to your work or project as well as how to engage them in it. Steps 2 to 5 are important in determining your stakeholders, and understanding their influence and interest. Step 6 is where these points are brought into action, which means developing and effectively communicating the key messages with the previously identified stakeholders.
  2. Define your entity, your project mission and your motivations and goals. Completing these questions will give you an overview of the most important aspects and ensure that all project members work towards the same goal. The word entity refers to your organisation as a whole, or it could describe a subgroup, department or any type of smaller entity (e.g. a project team) down to a single person for whom you want to perform this analysis. The right choice of the entity is important because it is specific for each different entity. The word project means a defined objective to be reached by completing a series of tasks. Projects can be simple or complex but they always have a desired outcome that all team members are working towards.
  3. Print out the Custom Messaging – Stakeholder Map (png) ideally on A3 paper to have more space and to be able to better connect the different stakeholders or create a mind map (online, on paper, on whiteboard, or any other way you can think of). Identify your most relevant dual career stakeholders. Listed below are potential areas to look out for them. Depending on your project, it might be useful to think nationally as well as internationally. Sport: clubs, federations, National Olympic Committees, player unions, etc. Education: universities, schools, further education institutes, etc. Labour market: sponsors, business partners or collaborations, internship partners, employment agencies, etc. Social: family, friends, etc. Financial: investors or sponsors, grant schemes, financial support providers, etc. Governmental: local and national governments, ministries, etc. Other: anti-doping organisations, regulators, etc. Identify the right contact person within the respective stakeholder organisation. Stakeholders can be both organisations and people, but, ultimately, you need to communicate with people. Start categorizing your stakeholders by using specific colours for different stakeholder groups.
  4. Use the Power/Interest Matrix (pptx) to prioritise your stakeholders by plotting them on the grid according to the influence (power) they have on your work or project (x axis and in terms of the interest in it (y axis). Identify what kind of action you should take with each stakeholder with the help of the explanations of each quadrant of the matrix. (Install the free Google Font Poppins to display the presentation correctly and adapt the slides.)
  5. Answer the corresponding questions in the Custom Messaging (pdf) worksheet to get a deeper insight into their purpose, goals, influences, needs, interests and expectations.
  6. Create your communication plan by tailoring your message for each key stakeholder that you need to approach.
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In practice

The tool "Comms Plan" in action: See real-life examples of its application in EU dual career practice.