Return on Communication: The New ROI

ROI, ROS, ROA – Move over!  There’s a new kid on the block.

ROC, or Return on Communication, is best described as achieving desired, quantifiable results through effective messaging.

Sounds simple – but it’s not.  If you doubt the difficulty of achieving ROC, pull out your best-written and most inspiring communication and calculate the measurable results.  Stuck?  Join the crowd.  Ever spent hours carefully wording and crafting a communiqué – poring over every word so as to convey just the right amount of urgency but not so much as to frighten the troops – only to discover the message went unheard or unread?  That’s zero ROC and it happens every day.

Zero ROC is expensive.  It’s a waste of time for the writer and it could erode the readers’ faith in the author or the organization as a whole.

If it’s worth writing it’s worth thinking through the value proposition.

Here are some questions to ask before putting pen to paper.

  1. What is the intended purpose of your message?  Quite simply, why are you writing?  If it’s because you love words or find your topic fascinating (or irritating), start a journal and leave your people alone.
  2. Is there a particular group you seek to motivate toward an action or a new state?  If so, picturing them in front of you as you write may help you make the message more appealing.
  3. If you are seeking to create change you must help your audience understand why the change is necessary.  Consider who is likely to resist the change as well as who is likely to embrace it.
  4. How will you know your message has been successful?  What will be different or what actions will have been taken?  How will you check this?
  5. Is this a core business matter (high priority) or a nice-to-have (low priority).

As leaders we need to recognize that our message is probably directed at people who are already overburdened and overtaxed by hundreds of other messages demanding equal time.

I’ll end with a quote from Kenneth W. Davis:

So this week, before you draft each piece of writing, ask yourself, “How can I best organize this information to turn it into knowledge for my reader.” By asking that question, and acting on your answer, you’ll be creating value in a knowledge economy.

The above quote was sourced at  Mr. Davis has many useful writing resources on this site
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2 Replies to “Return on Communication: The New ROI”

  1. I LOVE this article, Sue! Well done! It is so true that a great deal of time is wasted crafting messages that that go completely unreceived in inboxes of people to busy to open them. But – worse yet – so many communications turn into confrontations because there is not enough consideration into the message, the medium, and the audience.

    I am going to share your article with my team. I think we can all benefit from a little more thought in the way we chose to communicate our positions.

    Thanks for writing!



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