Step 8: Communicating Results

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish playwright
Co-founder of London School of Economics

Task 1: Prepare a Communications Plan

Performance evaluation information is a management tool. Learning occurs when evaluation processes and findings are effectively communicated and reported. Evaluation information can inform policy makers and program managers if the spatial management plan and its individual management actions are leading to desired outcomes and why management actions are or are not working.

Once data collection and analysis are completed, it’s time for you to share preliminary results and to make plans to communicate the final results. Communicating what has been learned is one of the most important parts of an evaluation.

A Communications Plan is a set of actions that describe how you intend to communicate the results of an evaluation. The Communications Plan should: (1) guide the process for successfully sharing the results of the evaluation; and (2) answer the following questions:

  • Who will do the communicating?

  • Who will take the lead in developing the plan?

  • What are the communications objectives?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • How will the audience use the evaluation findings?

  • How will the results be communicated?

  • What resources are available for communicating?

Video: Eric Olsen on communicating results of MSP

  • Science plays a central role in MSP, as well as in its monitoring and evaluation
  • Marine science and formulating advice based on that science is complex
  • The best available science can help MSP be more comprehensive and strategic

Task 2: Prepare the Evaluation Report

A study of communicating and reporting practices of evaluators revealed a number of practices responsible for successful experiences. One of the most essential practices is that communicating and reporting do not wait for the end of the evaluation before beginning to communicate with stakeholders and decision makers (Torres et al. 2005).

Task 3. Present the Evaluation to Stakeholders and Decision Makers

“I’m sorry the letter I have written you is so long. I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish Playwright
Co-founder of London School of Economics

Simplicity as a Virtue

An evaluation can use sophisticated techniques to confirm the strength of its findings, but the real challenge is to think creatively about how to translate those findings into simple, straightforward, and understandable presentations. This process will focus the presentation and highlight the most important findings. Distinguish between the complexity of analysis and the clarity of presentation. Present the full picture without getting bogged down in details.

Some of the techniques that can be used include:

  • Evaluation summary sheets
  • Findings tables
  • Scorecards
  • Photo stories
  • Blogs
  • Interactive web pages
  • Multimedia video reports
  • Webinars

The Number of Key Messages

The number of key messages to be communicated should be limited to between three and five. Limit the complexity of your key messages, and vary the message depending on the audience. Keep your key messages consistent and make sure everyone on the evaluation team is communicating the same messages. Avoid jargon and acronyms and keep the messages short and concise.

If you only have time to read one publication on communicating the results of evaluation, try R.T.Torres et al., 2005. Evaluation Strategies for Communicating and Reporting: Enhancing Learning in Organisations.

Go back to Step 7: Evaluating Results of Performance Monitoring or continue reading Using the Results of Evaluation in the Next Round of MSP