We live in a time of information overload. Millions of people spend every waking moment accessing
• Twitter feeds,
• Online news outlets,
• Hours upon hours of video covering every subject under the sun…
• Billboards advertising,
• Signage on benches
• Policies posted in the workplace
• Even TV’s in elevators and gas/petrol pumps
– there is data to take in at every turn!
Sometimes this overload results in an actual reduction of the amount of information we process.
We see so much every single day, we can’t possibly read it all, and as a result, many people don’t even try.
There are strategies, though, that can help make your message stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few tips to make your message break through the noise:
1. Avoid the “Wall of Text”
One of the fastest ways to turn someone away from an article, blog, or even posted signage is with too much info in too little space. Try using:
• Interesting formatting
• S p a c e to break up content
• Text styling
to break things up in a logical way.
Be aware of the rhythm of the words on the page – don’t just ramble on without taking a “breath.”
2. Grab the Reader’s Attention
Whether it’s a clever image, an enticing headline, or a snappy opening paragraph, grabbing the reader’s attention right away well help ensure they make it through the bulk of the content.
Depending on your medium (print, web, billboard, posted office policy, etc.), different methods will be better suited for grabbing a potential reader’s attention. Think about what entices you to look further into a given piece of information, and use this insight to deliver eye-catching information.
3. Stay Relevant
Stick to the point, whatever that may be. If the purpose is to entertain, don’t get bogged down in minutia that will bore the reader. If the purpose is to inform, stick to the information you need to convey, and beware of trailing off into unnecessary details.
4. Make it Easy to Find
This goes for everything from email subjects to sections in a newspaper, posted signs to assembly instructions. If you’re posting information to a blog, make sure the blog link is obvious on your home page. Post signs at eye-level in high traffic areas. If your information is going into a larger work, make sure it’s going in the proper, clearly labeled section.
If someone needs/wants your information, you want them to be able to access it quickly and easily – if it’s too much of a hassle, most readers will look elsewhere – or forego the information entirely.
What good is information if no one stops to read it? If you aren’t making the effort to separate your message from the wave of words the average person encounters every day, it will likely get lost somewhere in the flood.
Take the time to carefully craft your messages. Be conscious of how and where you are presenting them to your audience. Build the message (and associated presentation) the way you think your targets want to see them!
People DO take in a ton of information every day. Leverage these four tips to make sure that yours gets picked out of the bunch!
Anil Saxena is the President of Cube 2.14, an organizational development consulting firm that works with clients to increase both customer and employee engagement while decreasing turnover, improving customer retention, and increasing profitability within organizations.
Saxena is a certified High Impact coach and trainer and a Joint Application Design facilitator. He is also certified by both Rush Systems and IBM as a focus group facilitator. He is an inaugural member of Northwestern University’s Learning and Organizational Change program, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.