Communication activities: channels, tools and timeline

Different communication channels and tools may be used to reach your target audiences, depending on the type of media they usually consult to be informed (see below table).

Nowadays there is a wealth of communication tools available, but the resources available to implement the communication plan will limit the possibilities. Communication channels and tools all have advantages and drawbacks, that must be weighted in order to strategically select a few ones that, in combination, are specifically adapted to the target audiences that need to be reached.

All communication tools have advantages and drawbacks
In this digital age, many messages are communicated through an organisation’s website, or through e-mailings. This is quick and efficient, but not necessarily very effective as recipients are inundated by information, do not read everything but choose and pick what seems most relevant to them.
Though researchers and technical people like to read the details of a study design and methodology, research reports are often too long and complicated for policy makers that have little time and are looking for digestible bits and pieces. Policy briefs extracting key messages for policy-makers are more adapted.
Personal interaction allows for direct interaction and adjustment of the messages and justification to the audiences reactions, but may be time-consuming.

Another important aspect to consider is the timing of the activities. Activities must be properly planned and sequenced, in relation to NIPN implementation stages and to important project milestones and results. An analysis of policy processes in the country (refer to section 2.2) may help identify ahead of time key communication opportunities for NIPN. In addition, it is also important to be able to take advantage of any appropriate arising opportunity to reach the communication objectives of the NIPN.

Examples of communication channels and related tools
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