Having an effective communication strategy is important for both businesses and individuals, but we need to make sure that whatever communication plan we are using is actually working. This means we must evaluate the strategy or plan, and to do this, we can go through a series of steps. Let's look at these.
First, we need to look back at our goals and objectives and recall what we wanted to do in our communications to begin with. This will help us determine what we need to evaluate. A teacher might have wanted her students to have a higher rate of listening and retaining, for instance. This factor will serve as her baseline for evaluation. Other measurements might include effectiveness of communications in changes of opinion, participation, and recall.
Next, we need to pose some questions for evaluation. These include questions about audience reaction and engagement, the quality of the message as presented, the evidence about message reception, and the level of audience change or participation as a result of the message. We also need to figure out whom to ask about the effectiveness of the communication and the means by which to collect information. We might reach out to employees or customers, subscribers to a newsletter or participants in a program. We could use surveys or interviews or track replies to emails, hits on a website or social media page, or even, if we are talking about in-person communication, observation of the audience.
Finally, we need to compare our findings to previous evaluations to check whether we have made progress or not. Then we need to determine what kinds of changes to make in our communication strategies to better reach our objectives.