ABCDE of communication


The ‘ABCDE’ model is a tried and tested tool for planning, developing and managing communications with any audience including customers, co-workers, senior executives, employees, suppliers and partners. The ABCDE model helps individuals and teams communicate effectively by providing:

  • a framework of the essential elements of good communication that need to be understood and carefully considered, and which might otherwise be overlooked
  • a structured approach that makes it easier to plan and design robust and impactful communications strategies and tactics
  • a consistent process that improves communications capabilities and makes it easier to delegate and control communications activities

Why it is needed

Communication is acknowledged to be a key factor for success. There are numerous examples of project failure attributed to a lack of communication or poor engagement with the relevant stakeholders. Yet despite its importance, the quality of communication remains highly dependent on the skills of the individuals involved. For some, it's a skill that comes naturally, while others struggle or don't recognise there is a problem.
The ABCDE model provides a framework that can help everyone to raise their game.

Improving communication effectiveness

The ABCDE model can improve individual performance and team effectiveness through better communications. Better communications doesn't need creative writing skills. In the same way that a structured planning process improves project management, communications management can also be improved through a structured process.

Rather than just "sending out stuff", the ABCDE model encourages deliberate consideration of the intended outcomes and of what is important to the recipient(s). Moving through the planning process fosters more rigorous analysis and planning. Messages and methods are tailored and relevant. Where stakeholder communication is a shared responsibility, team members have visibility of approved messages, guidance on appropriate communication tools and methods, and clarity of roles, responsibilities and timing; team leaders have greater control over the quality and implementation of stakeholder communications rather than relying on team members' own interpretation of communication objectives, style and relevant content.

Learn more

Ask about our Communications Training: how to use ABCDE to manage stakeholder communications or improve team effectiveness. Alternatively, we offer Stakeholder Engagement and Customer Communications services to help you deliver your business objectives.

Even though my team had never seen an ABCDE before, the level of detail in it enabled them to use the information and move forward quickly. They were able to articulate more clearly what we wanted to achieve and it really helped to get the team aligned on what was required.
— Principal Consultant, Professional Services

Communications planning model

The ABCDE model provides a framework that:

  • improves individual performance and team effectiveness through better communications
  • improves project outcomes by clarifying objectives and recognising risks
  • improves quality through standardisation of best practice whilst allowing localisation
  • increases control of project communications by embedding outcome-evaluation as standard
  • builds executive confidence through robust planning, better stakeholder analysis and standardisation
The ABCDE communications framework takes what I need to do and puts it into an order that is absolutely correct. It just makes really good sense.
— Product Manager, IT Security