Smith’s 3-Step Approach to Policy Communication

… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

Concept description

Leslie Pal (reference below) summarizes the approach to policy communication recommended by Catherine Smith (2010).

Pal writes (p. 373-374):

“Policy is about problems, so some discussion and definition of the problem are necessary. Decisionmakers like to have options, not for their own sake but because most policy issues involve a balance of interests and values, and have a spectrum of options that strike the balance in different ways is useful. Recommendations help. Guidance on implementation and some sort of evaluation strategy do as well. These analytical requirements are much like the colour wheel: artists can be as creative as they like, but certain core relationships among primary and secondary colours cannot be entirely ignored.

“We can offer several illustrations. Smith (2010, pp. 26–28), for example, provides a “general method of communicating in a public process.” As she says, “If your writing experience has been mainly in the classroom, you may be surprised by the method’s questions. They represent real world writing conditions.” What follows is a summary of Smith’s approach.”

“Expect the second and third phases to iterate several times as the communication is improved.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Writing to Persuade (core topic) in Implementation and Delivery and Atlas107.


Leslie Pal (2014), Beyond Policy Analysis – Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, Fifth Edition, Nelson Education, Toronto. See Beyond Policy Analysis – Book Highlights.

Smith, C. F. (2010). Writing public policy: A practical guide to communicating in the policy making process. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 12 April 2017.

Image:, Writing Public Policy, at, accessed 8 April 2017.