Danny m. goldberg, CISA,
CgeIT, CCSA, CIA, CPA, is
the professional development
practice director at Sunera,
an international corporate
governance, risk management
and regulatory compliance
firm. Prior to joining Sunera
in January 2011, he founded
SOFT GRC, an advisory
services and professional
development firm. Goldberg
has more than 13 years
of audit experience in the
Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas,
USA, area, including five as a
chief audit executive/
audit director at two diverse
companies. He has the rare
experience of leading or
being an integral part of
year-one US Sarbanes-Oxley
Act compliance efforts at
three companies. Additionally,
he has assisted in leading
the establishment of three
Communication—The Missing Piece
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Career progression in any field is dependent on
many factors, including skill and experience and,
often, being in the right place at the right time.
In the audit and risk management profession,
there are many high-quality people vying for
the same roles. Additionally, the progression of
many managers up the proverbial audit ladder
is stymied due to one significant distinguishing
factor: communication skills.
In the IT audit world, some security and IT
auditors tend to use fear, uncertainty and doubt
as methods of enforcement. When speaking to
nontechnically oriented team members, it is easy
to generate fear, which may inadvertently lead
to rumors that can damage the credibility of the
auditors and/or the audit departments. Such
negative methods by auditors will not contribute
to success in building long-term relationships
For auditors, the focus is on oral and written
communication. To be successful, auditors must
establish face-to-face relationships with auditees
and develop a level of trust. Furthermore,
complete and accurate work papers in addition
to compelling audit reports are important
throughout the audit process.
Auditing skills and ability are extremely
important; however, without a high level of
communication, all ability is for naught. It has
been said that interpersonal skills are more
important than auditing skills in this profession. 1
Internal audit is comparable to the sales group
inside an organization, in that audit must
constantly sell its value and role. The need for
auditors to constantly sell their value highlights
the importance of refined communication
skills. Some best practices and key areas of
• The 7 C’s of communication
• Mode of communication
THe 7 C’S OF COmmunICATIOn
Communication, via emails, meetings, phone
conversations and instant messaging, for example,
is the foundation of all business. The 7 C’s of
communication provide a checklist for making
sure that all forms of communication, including
meetings, emails, conference calls, reports and
presentations, are well constructed and clear.
The 7 C’s of communication are: 2
1. Clarity/coherence—This may seem obvious,
but clear and coherent communication is not
as easy as it seems. Communication should
be focused—with no question about the
intention or the objective. Irrelevance should
be eliminated, and logic must be embraced.
2. Concise—Many people are familiar with
people who like to use long words and
sentences to project intelligence, often
producing the opposite effect. The elimination
of space killers and a focus on useful words is
key. Concise communication keeps audiences
engaged and interested.
3. Complete/correct—Communication is a fine
art; it is important to paint a complete picture so
that all facts and circumstances are understood.
Communication should be accurate and honest.
It is okay for people to admit that they do not
know something—admit it, attempt to find the
answer and move forward.
4. Captivating—Communication must be
interesting and engaging at all times.
Comprehension and listening significantly
decrease if people do not see how they are
personally involved in the communication.
Compelling language that encourages action
should be utlized. This commands more
attention and better responses.
5. Conversational—An adult’s comprehension
tends to decrease significantly (during training)
when a speaker talks to the audience rather
than with the audience. People must be
engaged and feel comfortable enough to speak
their mind. It is important to personalize each
experience and make each individual connect.