Preparing Communication

Preparation and Analysis before Communicating

Good planning and execution can help you achieve your communication objectives. If you are new to communication this section will help you towards securing a proper basis for choosing the right communication tool(s), using the appropriate content and language, and finding viable evaluation methods for your communication. You can use this in relation to a specific health condition or in communicating about self-care in general.This sections has a series of questions for you to consider, especially about your Intention, Audience, Situation, Budget, Evaluation and Strategy. Below you will also find a simple health literacy check list.

Note: These are quite basic considerations for some – if you feel confident as to your goal and intention, we recommend our 6-step check list – click here.

So before commencing your communication development and efforts have you considered;

I
ntention and Message
What do you hope to achieve with your communication – have you considered a specific goal? And what area would you like to focus on, why, and for whom?In other words what would you like your communication to achieve (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action?) – or perhaps something even more specific? If you’re in doubt read more here.

More information about self care
This guide can help you if you need to narrow down your objectives as to self care – which area and groups you would like to adress.

A
udience and target groups

Your audience at a national/general level – possibilities of cooperation
To improve your scope and communication environment as consider and research the possibilities for communicative and collaborative partners. This means considering collaborations with such different organizations and parties as

  • patient groups
  • consumer associations
  • associations for elderly citizens
  • retailers
  • unions / trade unions
  • other government agencies (perhaps environmental or educational)
  • ngos
  • social workers
  • other citizen groups

For more information about stakeholders
This guide can help you if you would like to know more about the challenges of different self care audiences.

Your audience at a specific/group level
Know your target group – who, how many, where are they – and are you communicating directly to them or through (other) professionals?

Consider using focus groups, analysis of the level of health literacy, statistical data on age, gender, occupation etc. This guide can also help you to analyze your specific potential for persuasion in the Persuasion-Action Matrix – and how to take this into account when planning your communication.

How should/would health literacy in the target groups affect language, tools, and situation?

S
ituation and timing
      Considering the communication situation – how, when, and where would you like to communicate – and what does this mean in terms of choice of tools?

Are there e.g. sufficient time or setting to read/listen/learn in the situation?

More about Communication Situations?
This guide can help you analyze a specific communication situation.

C
hannels, media and budget
      Consider your budget – how can you do enough – and how can you do more for the same amount?

Different kind of campaigns should be considered if need be; If there isn’t time/ressources to build a website could a leaflet do the job? How does new material interact with existing material “in the market” – and can they supplement each other?

Different media (e.g. a book) have different potentials for interaction with your target group(s) – and likewise your choice of channels;

  • Hospitals
  • Institutions
  • GPs
  • Homes
  • Pharmacies
  • Retailers
  • Schools
  • Day care
  • Digital/Social Media

– you can also consider joining forces with some of the different stakeholders within self care to achieve more.

Note: Channels are not necessarily the same as media and vice versa; Through schools one could both consider printing books, leaflets, courses, websites, etc. – the channel can used with many different media. And some media might be used in quite different channels.

More information on tools?
Read more about individual tools here – or look at cases in our catalogue of European cases here.

E
valuation and effect
Measuring your success is vital for you to document your progress and merit – ensuring further work to ensure self care.So consider different methods of measuring effect – and if your communication tools can/should be used without measuring effect – why?Considering your evaluation methods also ties into your work towards defining different levels of success. So what are these?

More about Evaluation?
Read here for more information about evaluation of communication and defining success criteria.

C
ommunication strategy
      There are many different ways to establish a strategy for your communication – but some key elements are;

Basics
Intent, Plan, Interaction with other media/campaigns, Variation

Results
Desired Outcomes – in Behavior, Activation of target groups, Number of articles etc.

Possibilities for cooperation
Network
Budget
Partners

Take time to ponder each of the above points and pay special attention to the need to plan and maintain variation – communication is never a quick fix, but creates results through care and consideration where you build trust and nurse good examples and ideas into your network and target groups – doing it right will get you early adopters, islands of success and eventually, perhaps, widespread change.

The last remark should remind you that will probably never be alone in communicating with and affecting your target audiences – therefore patience and perseverance should also be on your list of virtues in developing and producing communication.

See either our catalogue on European self care communication cases or our two scenarios on Combined Communication to learn more about ideas for practical use of communication.

Health Literacy Check List
And once you have come this far, please use the check list below to ensure that the basic steps have produced a result that might cause action.

Five basic Health Literacy questions

  1. Can the target group easily access or obtain the information?
  2. Can the target group understand the information?
  3. Can the target group judge if this is relevant to them?
  4. Does the information enable the target group to make a decision and apply the information?
  5. Can the target group with this information evaluate if the decision taken resulted in achieving the desired outcome?

Were any of the answers above a No?

If so, then either you should consider repeating the step 1-6 above or read more about working with Health Literacy here. Without clearing the Health Literacy Check List you risk either missing your target group entirely or not achieving the success criteria that you have set.

Perhaps your present work can/could be used at a later stage in your communication – or by partnering with other stakeholders?