OUR THOUGHTS

COMMUNICATION IN THE INFORMATION AGE: FOREVER CHANGED & FULL OF POSSIBILITY


“A picture is worth a thousand words.” And sometimes a few well chosen words can be worth a thousand pictures. It comes down to this: how can we communicate important information so that it can be retained and ultimately useful?

Each day every organization competes to gain and sustain the attention and support of customers, partners, and employees. In spite of all the new and emerging media technologies, information still must be relevant, meaningful, and true. It’s just that now it also must be concise, clear, and visually engaging like never before.

Each day every organization competes to gain and sustain the attention and support of customers, partners, and employees. In spite of all the new and emerging media technologies, information still must be relevant, meaningful, and true. It’s just that now it also must be concise, clear, and visually engaging like never before.

In our work, we help our clients recognize and realize the value in new communication methods and strategies. While we customize solutions for each client, the foundation of our approach is straightforward.

Make the presentation of information meaningful When preparing to communicate, consider how the content of the information might be best understood. Here is an example. We could list all of Clarus’ big organizational milestones for you as narrative bullet points and you would get an idea of how far we have come. But what if we showed them to you on an annotated timeline (as seen across the bottom of the page)? The intent, momentum, and development of the firm becomes easier to follow and (we think) more interesting to consider.

What if you transferred this example to a large-scale change management initiative? The color coding, shading, and symbols of a timeline would communicate the content and context of the change in a manner accessible to stakeholders. Meaningful depiction of an initiative’s trajectory improves understanding and garners support necessary for its ultimate success.

Leverage good design in communication Advances in graphic design and data visualization fortunately have kept pace with information and communication technologies. We encourage our clients to take advantage of these advances in communicating about their plans, change initiatives, and projects.

We work with an innovative executive leader who invested his team’s time in developing a robust and exciting strategic plan for the organization’s future. He knew as well as we did that the rollout of his strategic plan and its subsequent adoption by other stakeholders would determine the plan’s success; so he invested in the plan’s presentation and communication.

The executive asked Clarus to develop icons to represent each of the strategic plan’s priority areas, effectively establishing a brand for the plan and sub-brands for its framework elements. Now, every time progress or next steps for a strategic priority area are discussed, its icon is used, enabling stakeholders to develop a solid and quick understanding of what is most important to the organization.

State what matters most in clear and simple words Every organization has value propositions, beliefs, or concepts it wants to relate to its stakeholders. Communicating these effectively requires restraint and a deft pen. We recommend clients create simple, clear language for even the most complicated of concepts.

For example, at a recent presentation about a very complex education issue requiring great collaborative effort on the part of many disparate entities, there was one comment from a thirty minute talk that stayed with the audience: “Meaningful partnerships move at the speed of trust.” With these eight words, the audience learned very quickly the issue that needed to be addressed to move the mark on improving education in our community.

With each year, it seems that the stakes for ensuring an organization’s effectiveness grow higher. While communication expectations have changed, communication remains critical to success. Be sure that your communication strategies take advantage of the new best practices so your engaged stakeholders remain that way.

CLARUS TIP
Presentation matters! Pay close attention not only to what information you communicate but to how the information is communicated as well.

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