I try and think about the person reading, viewing or listening to the messages I am sharing. Thinking about what they know. What they might want to know. What I might want them to take away.
This is particularly important in exhibited material on display boards where someone might not always be on hand to explain it. There's one of those in my office at the moment. I stood and read it this week and wasn't clear what it was telling me. Why I should be interested. Even who to contact for more information as there was no name on it. I would feedback but I don't know who to ask.
The way we present ourselves and our messages is as important as the message. In many ways it can be more important.
We know that when we are speaking to someone that there are three elements of effective communication (well I know it because I went on a course, but maybe you don't).
We often spend hours and hours working on content (the words), but give no time to HOW to speak those words (the music) or HOW to animate ourselves visual (the dance).
Its easy to get it wrong verbally, its also easy to get it wrong visually.
We struggle where I work to justify spend on professional looking display material. I managed to get some professional banners made a few years ago but there were forms to fill in and very high level approvals.
So I work using PowerPoint and that's it. Is that the best we can do when the presentation of our messages is so important? If more people read a poster that cost £5000 than one I created on PowerPoint was it worth it?
Public finances continue to be tight which means we need to seek more partnerships.
We can do that in a number of ways, one of which is how we present ourselves, our messages and opportunities.
I'm not criticising my colleagues. We all have to work within the constraints. But how much can we push the boundaries? How can we try and make our messages land better? What can we trial to see if it works? Could we have one person in every office with some proper design software? And better plotters?
Go to an external privately run event and see the quality of the exhibition material they have available. We're a long way off that, but it wouldn't take a lot of effort or cost to get us a lot closer. Would it get us more opportunities by investing a bit more upfront?
Why do you think their material is so professional, I reckon it's because it's important to get their messages across....
So think about who you are targeting and what the take away messages are in all your communications. And please step back and view your material again. Or ask someone else too.
Mr Paul Wyse