This is a question that we’re frequently asked, and it’s a question with a very simple answer. It’s the ability to write clearly and succinctly and in a way that compels the reader to engage. The importance of arguing a case for change that is readily understandable cannot be understated.

This sounds simple enough to achieve. After all, with the possible exception of lawyers (!), what profession attempts to present information that is difficult to understand? So, why is this an issue that we keep seeing?

Here are just a few thoughts on how organisations can get the basics right.

1) Talk to your audiences – conducting research and gaining customer insight will help you understand more about how the message should be presented… what will sound authentic and what will ring hollow?

2) Tailor the message – different audiences are motivated by different things, so the message must be presented in the right context for the audience you’re talking to… what will motivate them to engage with your message?

3) Ditch the ‘policy/business speak’ – it’s an easy trap to fall into, to transpose the language used in policy documents into your communications… most audiences aren’t interested in ‘solutions’, ‘target operating models’ and the like… speak to them in terms they understand

4) Focus on the baby, not the labour – change programmes are complex and problematic and it can be easy to get bogged down in process (and describing that process) … make sure you focus on the benefits of the change programme – what will that look like for the audience you’re talking to?

5) Create a communications plan – make sure your key core messages, and your messages for particular audiences, are front and centre and understood (and agreed) by all… consistency of messaging is key

We’re currently involved in a wide range of different projects, from launching a large scale transformation programme, bidding into Whitehall, to supporting the integration of public services – but the essence of good communications and clear messaging cuts across each of our engagement.