top of page


Effective communications is one of the more difficult skills required of managers. The problem is truly complex. There are always multiple stakeholders (whether these are groups or individuals), each having different needs and holding different views. The purpose of the proposed communication matrix is to help managers track the conversations they need to have.

While I could point you to a dull set of academic paper to warrant this approach, I will not. Instead I would suggest that you look at a brief extract from a YouTube video that looks at the same approach but in another context.  (For the video click Here, go to minute 56:30 to 1.01.00))

I developed this frame work while working with the Belgium risk communications specialist an

It has recent proved to be useful in helping a number of organisation to manage the issues raised by the COVID19 pandemic.

For those of you familiar with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you will recognise  the approach taken.

  • The first step is to describe what has happened (the nature of the Crisis) or what is to happen (change programme):

  • The second step is to track the stakeholders, their concerns and the action you plan to take. The table below is offered as a framework matrix

Notes On the Table: 

[1] Who is Affected? Each group that has a concern should be listed. These grouping may need to be subdivide as the specific situation becomes clearer and subgroup interests may become clear.


[2] How are they affected? This needs to the consequences of the events for key stakeholders. Some of these will go away by immediate action (relatively simple issue resolved at cause-and-effect level) others will be more complex and will need to be addressed in the long term. This will drive their concerns


[3] What is their concern (Impact)? How do these groups express their concerns; this is about how they perceive the Adverse Effects on them. This enables you to judge how much key stakeholders care and why. Any group might have more than one concern. These need to be listed separately. No group should not be conflated with their concerns or the concern will become secondary to group politics; this would defeat the purpose of this matrix. It is the concern that needs to be evaluated for it validity and addressed accordingly.


[4] What concerns does this raises?  This concerns the stakeholders’ sentiments – their emotional reaction to their perceived loss. This is about how the stakeholder are reaction which may be different to what they say their concerns are. Crises are not about rational feelings and change provokes emotional reactions; both are emotion laden. The primary emotions are fear, anger and frustration. Any effective communication plan needs to address these issues.


[5] What the group say their needs are or the mitigation they desire, or what remedy they are looking for. Mitigation actions need to be Offensive (Proactive) Measures as well as Defensive (reactive/ passive) Measures


[6] What is the immediate implication for us? This is where the origination discusses whether it care enough about the stakeholder concerns to take the action those stakeholders want


[7] What can we do to help them? This states what the organisation will do to mitigate the concerns of this stakeholder group.


[8] What can those affected do to help themselves. Accepting that the organisation may not be able to address these concerns immediately, this concerns with advising the stakeholders what they can do immediately to help themselves.


[9] "Do nothing" is always on option. This concerns what the consequences for the organisations if they do nothing and whether they are concerned about the consequences?


[10] Subsequence concerns the possible unintended consequences on the action taken to mitigate a concern. As every action comes with downsides, what appears to offer an immediate benefit as it remedies a problem, this may blind the organisation to potential long-term downsides that should have been give more weight. 


[11] Trust is important for the long-term credible of the organisation's management. The issue here concerns how the event will affect the stakeholders view of the decision-makers. Therefore, as a result of these events, how much trust will your key stakeholders have in you in the future?

I developed this frame work while working with the Belgium risk communications specialist an

It has recent proved to be useful in helping a number of organisation to manage the issues raised by the COVID19 pandemic.

bottom of page