10 ways to Improve your Business Continuity Plans – tip #4 Know your audience

It is time to sit down, put pen to paper and write your business continuity plans. They should be straightforward: easy to read, easy to reference and easy to use.  These ten tips will help you to compose a practical plan that you will be proud to publish.

Tip #4 Write for your audience

Understand the audience for each set.  Design a response plan for people who may be panicked, rushed or distracted. Deliver a strong clear message. The recovery plans can contain more complexity as the audience has more time to digest the information. The set of general information will be read by management, by future business continuity planners and sometimes by members of the various teams during their training period, but rarely during a crisis. Here you can explain and justify the instructions contained in the other two sets.

Language in the response and recovery plans must be clear. Try to follow this writing advice:

  1. Avoid gender nouns and pronouns
  2. Use descriptive verbs
  3. Avoid jargon
  4. Avoid passive voice sentences
  5. Use the present tense
  6. Use the imperative mood
  7. Keep paragraphs simple and begin each with a clear topic sentence
  8. Use both sides of the page

Sentences should contain a single idea or instruction. All terms must be applied consistently throughout the document.

Editing of the plan should be done by a technical writer or someone in your organization that has very strong writing skills.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

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