The 5 Ws and H's Information to Speaking Nearly Something

Ask any journalist and they can tell you about the 5 Ws and an H. Every solid message is about these six basic ingredients. The same goes for communication within an organization, especially when it comes to sharing a compelling vision or making decisions about the future.

Do you want to make sure that you don't forget a critical detail in your communication? Think of 5 Ws and an H to ensure you capture key perspectives, share important context, and make it relevant to your audience.


Thinking has evolved to where to start with the 5 Ws and an H. The newest ideas include one from the well-known management consultant Simon Sinek Why as it tends to strike an emotional chord with the audience that can inspire the actions desired. He suggests that the most forward-looking organizations start with the concept and move on to the specific. So, especially if you are communicating about vision, values, and general concepts, start with the Why.


  • Why is it the right decision?
  • Why now?
  • Why is it important?


Adult learners feel inspired and have a strong desire to learn more about this What. If your messages are more specific and process-oriented, you can even start with that What.

In both cases, this "w" serves as the basis for your information and can establish a strong roadmap for your actions.


  • What is the decision?
  • What does that mean?
  • What shall I know?
  • What's in it for me


The who sometimes seems easy. But instead of using phrases like "managers" or "all employees" to describe everyone involved and your stakeholders, think about the division of the larger groups when answering your questions. For example, your messages to hourly or virtual workers are likely to be different from those at mid-level. Also, remember to think across functions and avoid departmental silos.


  • Who made the decision?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Who does it concern?


Like the who, the Where needs thoughtful, detailed analysis for your efforts to be most successful. This is especially true for large multinational organizations when the Where could be quite variable. The important role technology can play in facilitating communication between organizations must also be part of your where exploration.


  • Where did this decision come from?
  • Where / in which places will it be affected?
  • Where can I get more information?


A driver for both deadlines in a communication plan and how to effectively cascade your messages when can give you a sense of direction and sometimes urgency. The when is sometimes influenced by competing factors; Stay tuned to conflicting priorities and be ready to push back when necessary when unrealistic schedules could lessen the impact of your communication efforts.



It may be the last on this list, but that As should hardly be considered in the slightest. The As is usually the "workhorse" of your planning team and guides your project planning with tasks and tactics. It is also the place where there should be plenty of discussion and even discussion.


  • How was the decision made?
  • How is it implemented?
  • How will the communication work internally and externally?
  • How does it affect me?

Which W or H do you forget most often when communicating?

– David Grossman

Download This Free Two-Sided Tool –The 5 Ws and an H – to help you out by clicking the picture below.

The 5 Ws and an H Tool - free download