Data alone does not demonstrate the value of communication products and services; communication does. Following are 5 ways to communicate the results to the internal or external clients we serve.
1. Information designs. If you want to communicate the value of your work, you need to begin on Day 1. Set clients’ expectations of the results you intend to achieve by including observable and measurable objectives for the content and impact on the client’s business.
Educate clients on how to assess effectiveness by including complete evaluation plans, too, in your information plans. Include drafts of proposed Reader’s Comment Forms and usability scenarios, and list business measurements to track.
2. Project status reports. Continue to manage expectations during the development process by regularly distributing status reports through the development process.
In the report, tell clients how you are managing budgets and schedules, and how you ensure editorial, production, and technical quality during development. Most significantly, alert clients to potential problems before they occur (rather than hide them from clients).
3. Post-mortems. At the end of projects, teams tend to focus on an what went wrong. A post-mortem (a debriefing of the entire project) that includes members of the internal or external client team can identify not only the “don’t let this happen again” moments, but also those things that went right. That leaves a more balanced impression with clients.
4. Annual reports. Publish an annual report that tells internal or external clients and prospects about users’ responses to the communication products you developed and the business results you have helped clients achieve during the previous year. Not only is this a great means of reminding recent clients how you have helped them, but it helps manage the expectations of new clients.
Look for the
Template for an Annual Report to Stakeholders of Educational Technology and Technical Communication Groups elsewhere on this site for a template for preparing such an annual report.
5. Informal communications. Always take advantage of opportunities to politely tell a client how you have helped them or others. When doing so, be careful about crossing the boundary between informing and bragging. For those wondering what that boundary is, you can always feel comfortable mentioning the subject when clients introduce it.
Whenever you provide information about the effectiveness and value of communication products, recognize that each client assesses these issues in their own way.
© Copyright 1999, 2001, 2010, 2012. Saul Carliner. All rights reserved. If sharing or excerpting, should be properly cited.