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Time for a communication audit?

When is the right time to do a communication audit in a business?  Why is it important to know whether communication in a business is effective or not? During a communication audit the strength and weaknesses of all communication in the business is analyzed, namely its communication policies, strategies, practices, messages, capabilities and even the media that are used, including social and other online media. If you have read some of my other postings in this blog, you will know how important communication in a business is.  Lack of effective communication can even cause the business to eventually fail.

When is the right time to do a communication audit?  You could consider a communication audit in your business when:

  • a major restructuring of the business is taking place
  •  the business seems to be failing and not reaching its objectives.
  • union negotiations are upcoming
  • a merger or acquisition of another business might be happening
  • a new management team is appointed
  • some external events are a cause of concern for the future of the business.

Apart from the above, a communication audit will also be helpful to

  • establish how well current communication strategies are working or to evaluate any new communication policy or practice;
  • determine current or potential communication problems or missed opportunities;
  • evaluate the relationship of communication to other business operations both on corporate and local levels;
  • develop benchmarks, namely to ascertain how the business compares with other businesses in terms of effective communication and also to measure progress against previous benchmarks;
  • develop or restructure the communication function within a business; and
  • provide a sound foundation for developing any formal communication policies and plans.

But how should a communication audit be done?

To get the most of the audit, evaluation of business communication should preferably be done by a communication expert or a communication consultant who will assist the business to identify inadequate aspects of its business communication. Considering the results of the audit, the communication expert or consultant will propose specific actions and make recommendations to address any shortcomings. Various methods to measure business communication exist and the expert or consultant will select the most suitable for our business.

It is important to remember that a communication audit should be considered as a diagnostic instrument only.  The management of the business should be committed to improving communication and to really work on those communication areas which have shortcomings.

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