In the past week or so I have noticed a lot of comments on social media from communicators highlighting where organisations have missed opportunities or fallen short. We all need to keep reviewing what we do on a regular basis and cast a critical eye over whether we have achieved what we set out to do. It requires honesty and the ability to be able to detach from what we have put our efforts into.
Evaluation is one of the most problematic areas of communication and public relations, but it has to be one of the most important. Few of us spend enough time really assessing the impact of the activity. Instead we often run from one piece of work straight into another piece of work. It is a particular problem since communication teams have been reduced and are much smaller.
Communicators like to review what other people are doing and consider it against their own activity. I am like many that will keep a close eye on organisations and companies who are in the spotlight and review how they conduct their communication. I also review the online and social media work. There are times when I can see missed opportunities or I wonder why an organisation may take a particular approach to their communication.
It is important though that we all remember we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. We see the outcome of the communication activity but we don’t see the discussions that take place beforehand, the reasons why the activity is undertaken, the rationale for the decision making, and the resources that are available to undertake the work. It is easy to sit back and make value judgements from a position of holding only a fraction of the information.
There are many times when we know what we could do better or what we could change and don’t need others to point it out. Feedback is always useful but we need to consider how we give it and whether we have the full picture.