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I have conducted a communication audit on my own and analyzed a group of seven samples consisting of online format communications including emails and online messages. I evaluated three samples targeted for internal stakeholders (students and teachers) and four cases targeted for external stakeholders (parents). The overall assessment showed satisfactory results according to the communication audit criteria.
The critical trend found in the evidence is that communications tend to be more effective with the outside audiences as every word is weighed and measured before use. According to Hall (2008), the key moments to be considered before initiating the communication are audience, purpose, message, intended action, and key take-away. This is found relevant for all the interaction with outside stakeholders, while this is poorly considered for the internal conversations.
The apparent gap in the communication program is the fact that inside stakeholders are addressed inappropriately. However, it is safe to say that we are doing an excellent job while addressing the outside public. The main reason for this is that most internal communications are in an informal format, and the parties make little consideration about what and why they are saying. The outside messages are conveyed in a formal manner, which makes the parties analyze almost every word before using it.
If no changes occur in the communications approach, the obvious implications would be the continuous decline in the inside communication quality. This would make the communication count increase, as there would be more effort needed to get the message across to the intended audience. To improve the situation, the team should collaborate on the means of interaction used for inside stakeholders, elaborate communication plans, and make the communication audits a routine activity. In conclusion, the communication audit revealed the ineffective communication scheme between inside stakeholders, therefore interventions should be made to improve the matter.
All the stakeholders fall into one of the groups: the inside stakeholders, including higher management, teachers’ staff, and the students, and the outside stakeholders, consisting of parents and the board of trustees. The main outcome we seek in communicating with the inside audiences is a deeper understanding of what are our tech team’s competencies and achievements. Practice shows that the best way of conveying the ideas to the inside community is by providing small visuals, such as video clips, PowerPoint presentations, or colorful diagrams.
A review of our previous strategies shows that the best practice we used in our previous years was creating a short video overview of the tech team’s accomplishments. As Hall (2008) states, the technology people like to brag about how many computers they installed and how much fiber or optic cable was put in place. Hence, our oral presentations in the form of webinars were not as effective as we delved into too many details.
The primary outcome expected from the communication with the outside audiences is providing a more profound understanding of the department’s needs and strives to get the appropriate financial support. The most effective practice was providing short progress reports including exact numbers, while the most inefficient intervention was conducting educational video conferences. In also worth mentioning that the best method we applied to both segments, the outside and the inside audiences, was addressing them as a group instead of trying to reach everyone individually.
Considering our last year’s practice, our team will focus on using appropriate means of communication for every group, linking all the group members to each other to make them easier to approach, and continue conducting audits to create a more proficient communication plan for the following year’s strategies.
Hall, D. (2008). The technology director’s guide to leadership. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.