Visualising written words

Receiving information is an essential part of our everyday lives. In the many forms that it comes in; it helps to spread ideas and aids learning about things that as its audience, we never knew. Yet if written or spoken poorly, it fails to deliver its intended message.

Before putting pen to paper, spending a few minutes to understand the purpose of the content you need to write is an excellent first step.

  • Is it for training purposes,
  • Maybe you are preparing a pitch to raise investment funds,
  • You need to communicate ideas in a meeting, or
  • You have been tasked to write user instructions for a product.

Effective communication of information is dependent on its channel and medium. Each of the above purposes has a different execution method on how to best deliver information to its audience.

Here are some things you should consider when determining the best way to communicate with your audience.

Consideration 1: Graphics

Firstly, what kind of imagery you would you like to use, if any, with your information. For example, if you have data to display, it is a better idea to present this information visually such as in a graph or infographic rather than in a table.

People will always be more engaged with visual images than blocks of text. If you use too much text or non-exciting imagery, then your audience will be bored, and your presentation will not be well received.

Consideration 2: Structure and format

How you structure of your information is vital when presenting it to other people.

As a start, you should break up your information into smaller chunks. This allows the reader to absorb the information more readily and makes it easier for them to follow.

Use the following approaches to allow more natural reader flow:

  • Descriptive headings
  • Dot points
  • Lists
  • Short paragraphs.
  • Tables

Make sure you structure your information based on its purpose. For example, for the purpose writing procedures - it would make more sense to list your information sequentially in step by step order. Alternatively, if you are presenting a pitch, it makes sense to use dot points, graphics and other visual cues to maintain audience engagement while you explain the information.

A vital tip to remember when structuring your information is to mask its volume, so you don’t overwhelm or bore your audience. You can still communicate the same amount of information, just make it easier to digest.

 

Consideration 3: Audience type

When writing your content, it’s important to know the characteristics of its intended audience as the tone, style and complexity you use will impact whether your audience engages with you.

For example, if you were trying to explain information to pre-school children, you need to use simple language, limit the depth of knowledge, and make sure that your structure is easy to keep up with.

On the other hand, if your audience is the board of a large organisation, your information would need to have a a high status vocabulary, a clean and succinct structural presentation, and be eye catching enough to maintain engagement.

Remember, the overall goal is to make your information easy to process by the receiver.

Even if it makes things harder for you, it will definitely pay off in the long run.