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Measurement skills for every practitioner


December 3, 2012

Angela Sinickas leads a session during the  PRSA 2012 International Conference in San Francisco.
Angela Sinickas leads a session during the PRSA 2012 International Conference in San Francisco.

Angela Sinickas, president and founder of organizational measurement company Sinickas Communications, offered insight into key skills tied to managerial roles, from first-job practitioners to seasoned executives. Here are a few ways to build research into PR projects at any point in your career from her presentation at the PRSA 2012 International Conference in San Francisco:

Professional:
Technicians need to understand the difference in “measuring outputs, which are messages we create and channels we use, versus measuring outcomes, which include greater awareness, behavior changes and ROI,” Sinickas said.

She encouraged practitioners to craft meaningful research initiatives that differentiate between two types of research questions: knowledge questions, such as “what is our profit?” and attitude questions, such as “what should our profit be?”

Managerial:
Managers need to “connect communications to business results.” One example Sinickas provided was tracking the results of your legal department. “Track what happens when the legal department doesn’t listen to you,” she said. She emphasized that a manager doesn’t need to measure everything or create expensive research projects, but they should “be creative and effective enough to prove that what you’re doing is worthwhile.” By creating meaningful reports from raw data, she said, managers can prove their clients — and their teams.

Executive:
Leaders need to understand some of the advanced topics for statistical correlations and operational and financial results that communication affects. Key skills include developing measurement strategy, calculating accurate ROI and developing a “departmental dashboard” to review with other execs.

Sinickas recommended emphasizing visuals — not just words and numbers — in reports. “If we write a 20-page document on research results, how much will our CEO read?” she asked. Instead, balance text with graphics, where percentages and colors can be more efficient than words.

Whether you’re an entry-level professional, a middle manager or a senior executive, Sinickas shared the following advice for honing measurement skills: “Take every survey you’re invited to take — and study what works and what doesn’t work for you.” 

Philip Volmar Philip Volmar is a graduate of Brigham Young University's award-winning PR program. He specializes in digital public relations and integrated marketing.
Email: pvolmar at gmail.com



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