Analysing the SWOT

SWOT analysis is a very widely used technique for quickly assessing and presenting situations. Why is it so popular and what can this tell us about business communication?
Here is a simple SWOT analysis diagram:



The idea and the way it's depicted have many attractions:
- It's simple, logical and easy to remember and communicate - no need for long examples.
- The 2x2 matrix is widely used in business thinking - no need for complex diagrams.
- It emphasises opposites in various ways: the pairs S/W and O/T which are obviously positive and negative, plus the first pair is often seen as focused on the internal and the second on external issues.
- The pairings also suggest a progression and the need for balanced thinking: a strength may easily become a weakness.
- One of the elements, Opportunities, is part of the language of Strategy, so there's a clear link to other analysis.

Overall, SWOT analysis shows how effective clear thinking and choice of language can be in communicating important ideas. It must be useful as it's been around for a while and shows no sign of going out of favour. We need more things like this.


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