Excerpt
  The following is an excerpt from a chapter in the manual "How to Measure Your Communication Programs" by Angela D. Sinickas
  copyright 2005 Angela D. Sinickas. All rights reserved.   ISBN 0-9661757-1-9
 
    Section II: How to Conduct a Communication Audit.  
   
The stand-alone measurement approaches in Section I can be
very useful "quick hit" measurements. You can diagnose what's
working and what's not in a highly focused way, with little commitment of time or money, and take immediate actions.
     
However, if you need to develop an overall communication strategy, the stand-alone measures may have limited usefulness. They may suggest solutions that are the equivalent of taking aspirin to combat a fever when the fever is caused by pneumonia.
     
Similarly, in managing a communication program, it is easy to look at a symptom and embark on a quick fix that might not have any effect on the underlying problem of the symptom.  You might be conducting a readership survey on your main publication and making it the very best publication it can be. However, you would not find out through a readership survey if your employees want to get certain types of information face-to-face but only 25% of them have access to staff meetings.
     
Every few years you may need to make a more comprehensive
assessment of your communication program through a full-scale
communication audit, or you may leap to the wrong conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of your overall communication environment.
     
A story:  Here's an example from a service company that had been relying on the chain of command as a conduit of downward
information flow; however, the front-line troops didn't seem to be
getting all the messages.  Top management at this company believed that the problem was that their supervisors weren't comfortable communicating with their employees and needed to undergo an expensive and time-consuming series of training sessions in various written and oral communication skills.  Further investigation of this issue in employee and supervisor focus groups during a communication audit indicated that supervisors, by and large, had fairly good communication skills that they tried to exercise as much as they could.  The problem, as employees saw it, was that top management wasn't passing enough content of information down the pipeline.  No amount of supervisor training would have solved the real problem.
     
In This Section:

When you hear about a "communication audit," people are generally referring to a series of steps that start by broadly defining the major areas of communication successes and problems, and little by little narrowing down to getting finely tuned measurements of very actionable aspects of communication with the highest potential payoff for the organization and its audiences. 
     
Personally, I'd recommend using terminology other than 'audit' to
avoid making people feel defensive when you ask for their involvement.  (Audits tend to remind people of tax returns.)  Better alternatives might include 'conducting a needs analysis' or a 'baseline study.'  Be creative; use whatever similar terminology your company uses in other aspects of its management processes.  For purposes of this manual, I will use 'audit' because it has become so deeply entrenched into organizational communication jargon that it serves as shorthand.
While this section of the manual gets into very tactical detail on
each step of an audit, it might help to start with a quick overview
of the sequential steps in the process to see how they fit together.
 
   

(End of Excerpt)

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  Table of Contents    (To PREVIEW excerpts CLICK underlined text below.) 
     
  1. Communicate with a Measurement Mindset
    - How Effective are Your Own Communications?
    - Why Bother Measuring Communications?
    - How to Use the Manual
2. Section I: Measurement Tools a la Carte
    - A Beginner's Measurement Toolbox
    - Administering Various Tool
3. Measuring Messages
    - Content Analysis
    - News Release Content Analysis
    - Communication Pattern Analysis
    - Adapted Starch Test
    - Knowledge Testing
4. Measuring Publications and Audiovisuals
    - Objective Media Review
    - Reading Level Test
    - Readership/Viewership Surveys
    - The Semantic Differential
    - Distribution Analysis
    - Minisurveys
5. Measuring Memos, E-Mail and Phone Mail
    - "In-Box" Analysis
    - Content Analysis
    - "Memo Mania" Tracking
6. Measuring Intranets and Web Sites
    - Measuring Outcomes Against Objectives
    - Measuring Web and Intranet Usage
    - Conducting Research with Your Website Users
    - Using Intranets and Web Sites as Measurement Tools
7. Measuring Media Relations
    - Typical Analysis of Clips
    - Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)
    - News Release Content Analysis
    - Track Avoidance of Negative Coverage
    - Surveying Reporters
    - Adding Questions to Existing Market Research Studies
    - Tracking Behavior Changes Against Media Coverage
8. Measuring Face-to-Face Communication
    - Analysis of Supervisor Communication Skills
    - Communication Diary
    - Analysis of Meeting Effectiveness
    - Network Analysis
    - Message Diffusion Tracking
9. Measuring Feedback Systems
    - Official Feedback Programs
    - Measuring Unsolicited Feedback
10. Measuring Communication Climate
    - Critical Incident Analysis
    - Communication Climate (Attitude) Analysis

11. Measuring Behaviors and Outcomes
    - Looking at Existing Data in New Ways
    - Tracking Behaviors
    - Identifying Sources of New Customers/Employees
    - Operational Communication Analysis
    - Decision-Making Communication Analysis

12. Section II: How to Conduct a Communication Audit
    - Beyond the Beginner's Toolbox
    - In This Section
    - Choosing the Right Research Methods

13. Getting Buy-in for the Audit
    - Doors and Windows of Opportunity
    - Shopping for Buy-in
    - Preparing Your Proposal

14. Working with Your Task Force
    - How Large a Task Force
    - Selection Criteria
    - Meeting Site Selection
    - Tools and Materials

15. First Task Force Meeting
    - Agenda for the first Task Force Meeting
    - Meeting Leader's Help Sheet

16. Developing Questions for Interviews and Focus Groups
    - Developing Your Own Unique Questions
    - A Starter List of Questions

17. Recording Responses from Interviews and Focus Groups
    - Inter-Departmental Information Flow
    - Effectiveness of Communication Media

18. How to Conduct Executive Interviews
    - The Purpose of Executive Interviews
    - Fulfilling Your Personal Objectives
    - Similarities to Journalistic Interviews
    - Differences from Journalistic Interviews
    - Announcing the Interview
    - Practicing Your Interview Technique
    - Conducting the Interview

19. Second Task Force Meeting
    - Agenda for the Second Task Force Meeting
    - Meeting Leader's Help Sheet

20. Preparing to Conduct Focus Groups
    - What Constitutes a Focus Group
    - Focus Groups vs. Study Groups
    - How Focus Groups Relate to Study Groups
    - How to Select Focus Group Members
    - How to Invite Focus Group Participants

21. Facilitating Focus Groups
    - Scheduling Focus Groups
    - Location and Room Arrangements
    - Note-Taking vs. Recording
    - Choosing a Facilitator
    - Tips for Facilitating the Sessions

22. Third Task Force Meeting
    - Agenda for the Third Task Force Meeting
    - Meeting Leader's Help Sheet

23. Constructing Survey Form Questions
    - Determining Topics to Include on the Survey
    - Phrasing Questions for Clarity and Impact

24. Developing the Format of Your Survey Form
    - Designing the Survey's Overall Effect
    - How to Record Answers
    - How to Structure Responses
    - How to Organize Responses

25. Administering Survey Forms
    - Who Should Be Surveyed
    - When to Conduct Surveys
    - How to Distribute Questionnaires
    - How to Collect Questionnaires
    - Administering Your Survey

26. Analyzing Your Results
    - Organizing Your Overall Results
    - Detailed Analysis

27. Reporting Your Results
    - Types of Reports
    - Sections of a Report
    - Some Guiding Principles

28. Final Task Force Meeting
    - Agenda for the Final Task Force Meeting
    - Meeting Leader's Help Sheet

29. Index
 
 
 

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