The 411

The 2-day version of this workshop is currently only available on an in-house basis. To participate in an open-registration session of Strategic Communications Planning, please register for the 1-day workshop.

Meet the Instructor

David Kardish

David Kardish

Mr. Kardish has over thirty years of experience working in all aspects of planning and communications in Canada and the United Kingdom. He has consulted to federal government departments, non-governmental organizations and private sector companies. Mr. Kardish has worked as a strategic planner, communications practitioner, evaluator, lobbyist, social marketer, and is a skilled adult educator, trainer and facilitator.

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"A great balance between theory and practical exercises"

"I have a new understanding and appreciation for the complexity of this topic"

"The instructors did not just read the slides/materials, they spoke about the content with hands on examples"

"I think David is a tremendous trainer. I would recommend this class to anyone and will be looking into taking some of his other courses."

"I really enjoyed this course and can't wait to put what I learned into practice. Two thumbs up!"


2-day version


In a complex communications environment, communicators must not simply respond to pressures and events but respond coherently in ways that support and further their organization's vision, values, mission, strategic outcomes, policies and programs. More and more communicators are required to be strategic, to take a wide view, to think holistically and long-term, and to focus on results achieved for resources expended. Understanding the process and techniques of strategic communications planning is an essential element in being an effective communicator and strategic advisor.




Agenda Day 1
8:45 - 9:45 Introductions and Workshop Overview
  • Introductions, outline of the workshop agenda and participant learning expectations
  • Participants will engage in a warm-up discussion about critical concepts associated with strategic thinking
9:45 - 10:15 The Strategic Communications Process Demystified
  • Participants will discuss several organizational strategic communications planning templates and processes
  • Participants will discuss the origins of conflict within the planning process and how to manage and/or resolve it
10:15 - 10:30 BREAK
10:30 - 11:00 Vision, Values, Mission and Strategic Organizational Outcomes
  • Participants will review the importance of understanding and accounting for the organizational vision, values, mission and strategic outcomes within the strategic planning process
11:00 - 11:30 Building the Strategy: Drivers and Situational Analysis
  • Participants will discuss the first elements of the strategic planning process including;
  • Identifying the strategic drivers:
    • Crafting the situational analysis – developing the information base; researching and analyzing the environment; identifying critical communications issues; and defining challenges and opportunities;
    • Employing tools such as scenario building, trend analysis and strategic foresight analysis to enhance the strategic planning process; and
    • Learn how to move from the collection of data to assumptions and implications
11:30 - 12:15 Case Study Exercise:
Developing the First Elements of the Strategy
  • Participants working in small groups will develop the first elements of a strategic communications plan, including the situational analysis, critical communications issues, challenges and opportunities
  • Participants will report back on their discussions through instructor-led feedback and discussion
12:15 - 1:00 LUNCH
1:00 - 2:00 Building the Strategy: The Logic Model and Performance Indicators
  • Participants will learn the basics of results-based communications planning and learn how to establish final, intermediate and immediate outcomes (long-, medium-, and short-term outcomes) for a communications strategy
  • Participants will also learn how to create cost-effective performance indicators
2:00 - 2:45 Building the Strategy: Stakeholders and Target Audiences
  • Participants will learn proven techniques to identify and segment key stakeholders and target audiences
  • Participants will also discuss the necessity of identifying and successfully managing supporters and detractors
2:45 - 3:00 BREAK
3:00 - 3:30 Building the Strategy: Strategic Priorities and Corresponding Strategic Approaches
  • Participants will learn how to create and assess the specific strategic priorities or designated strategies that will be required to achieve the expected outcomes established for a specific strategy
  • As part of this process, participants will learn how to identify and employ specific high-level strategic approaches to achieve designated strategic priorities
3:30 - 4:15 Case Study Exercise:
Developing the Other Elements of the Strategy
  • Participants working in small groups will continue to develop the strategic plan, including the logic model and designated strategic priorities and approaches and will report back on their findings
4:15 - 4:30 Close and Evaluation of Day One
  • Participants will use a “three-word” evaluation process to discuss the outcomes of Day One

Agenda Day 2
8:45- 9:00 Lessons Learned from Day One
  • Participants will identify and discuss the lessons learned from the previous day
9:00 - 10:15 Building the Strategy: Positioning, Messaging and Branding
  • Participants will learn how to develop a positioning statement and create easy to understand messages using a messaging system
  • Participants will discuss and learn about the concept of branding
10:15 - 10:30 BREAK
10:30 - 11:15 Building the Strategy: Distribution, Resources, Risk and Implementation
  • Participants will learn how to develop an outcomes-based action plan and the importance of developing communications actions and products that meet the needs of specific target audiences and stakeholders
11:15 - 12:00 Case Study Exercise:
Developing Other Elements of the Strategy
  • Participants working in groups will develop additional elements of the strategic plan including a positioning statement, communications themes and messages for specific target audiences and will report back on their results
12:00 - 12:45 LUNCH
12:45 - 1:45 Building the Strategy: Manage the Strategic Communications Plan Review process and Evaluation
  • Participants will learn how to manage and assess the strategic plan process and outcomes
  • Participants will learn how develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms designed to measure the results/outcomes identified in a communications strategy
1:45 - 2:00 BREAK
2:00 - 3:00 Navigating Organizational Politics and Securing Approval for Your Strategic Communications Plan
  • Participants will learn how to position their strategies to ensure fair treatment and secure approval
  • Participants will discuss influence, persuasion and diplomacy and how to build trust and enhance individual reputations as critical levers of success
3:00 - 3:45 Case Study Exerciseb
  • Participants will complete the case study: small groups will develop an action plan to implement the strategy and a performance measurement strategy and will report back on their results
3:45 - 4:00 Wrap-up and Workshop Evaluation
  • Participants will complete a short evaluation