Module 1: Communication Planning
In this Module:
- How a communication plan can help with program implementation
- How to develop a communication plan, including a fillable template
- How to use plain language to develop effective communication materials
Communication is key to implementing school-based HIV/STD prevention strategies that include sexual health education (SHE), sexual health services (SHS), and safe and supportive environments (SSE).
Take some time to think about how communication can help support your program implementation:
- What do you want to achieve across SHE, SHS, and SSE, and how can communication support your efforts?
- What district-level or school-level activities will you conduct to:
- strengthen staff capacity,
- increase student access to programs and services, and
- engage parent and community partners?
Communication planning can help you implement these activities.
Capturing the answers to these questions, and more, in a communication plan will help you define your communication goals. A communication plan also will provide you with an overall communication strategy that can support your program implementation and bring it to full capacity.
bullseye pointer icon Goals
What you want to achieve
users solid icon Audience
Who you want to reach
comments alt solid icon Messages
What information you want to communicate to your audience
database solid icon Methods/Tactics
What you are going to do
calendar check solid icon Timeline
How you get everything done and who is responsible
money bill solid icon Budget
How much your communication activities cost
chart line solid icon Evaluation
How you determine if you are successful
Use the Communication Plan template word icon[DOC – 140 KB] to develop a communication strategy to support your program implementation.
The template has prompts to guide you through defining some of the elements listed above.
- What you want to achieve across the SHE, SHS, and SSE strategies
- What district-level or school-level activities you will conduct within the overarching domains to:
- Strengthen staff capacity
- Increase student access to programs and services
- Engage parent and community partners
The template has prompts to guide you through defining each element of your communication plan.
Developing Effective Communication Materials
Your communication plan will need to include materials specifically developed for your audience(s). Module 2: Communication Templates and Module 4: Sample Social Media Post and Graphics include templates content, and graphics that you can use to develop and customize your materials
Following the checklist will help you to write for your audience(s) to make your materials more effective.
Health Literacy Best Practices Checklist
- Identify the action you want the reader to take after seeing your materials
- Determine 3–5 messages you will include in your materials
- Describe in your materials the benefits of taking action —what’s in it for them
- Tell readers only what they need to know—skip unnecessary details that may distract from your main messages and benefits
- Use plain language that any reader will understand—avoid technical jargon
- Use images or graphics and data that are relevant to the content
- Use captions on your images to reinforce your messages, as applicable
- Create opportunities for reader interaction (e.g., questions to answer)
- Tell the reader what to expect from reading the material
- Put the most important information at the beginning of your material and repeat it at the end
- Use headings, subheadings, or bullets to break up sections of content
- Use words your audience uses
- Use active voice
- Use a friendly, conversational style
- Use short sentences
- Use familiar examples
- Use simple words and be consistent
- Avoid abbreviations and acronyms when possible
- Limit use of statistics
- Leave white space between columns or sections of content
- Use bold to emphasize key words
- Create a layout that aids readability (left-justified and at least ½” margins)
- Use bullets to break up large sections of text
- Use color to aid readability
- Use images that are relevant to your text
Additional communication planning resources: