Is your message too dry?

Photo by Ian Dooley on Unsplash

Admit it.  Sometimes you have a message that is simply too dry to even imagine a way of making it interesting.  Maybe it’s technical or legal and when it comes down to it, you’re sure the words matter more than how they are delivered.  Maybe you can’t see the value in making it more than what it is – a pile of black and white letters that provide you with the ability to check a box and say “task completed.”  Are you missing an opportunity to make an impression?

Several years ago a client asked me to revamp their employee handbook.  You know, that document we all have to read through (or at least say we did) and check the box for HR so they can say they informed the new employee of company policies.  It occurred to me that for many, that employee handbook is one of the first impressions of their new working environment, and a great opportunity to set the tone of their experience.

Rather than simply rewriting and reorganizing that handbook of “do’s” and “don’ts,” I decided to make an impression with it, using PowerPoint.  I created a theme consistent with the company’s style, added photos that conveyed the professionalism the client desired, added menus with hyperlinks and the ability to easily navigate through the handbook so it would be a useful tool for all employees beyond their first day on the job.

This message didn’t have to be interesting.  It didn’t have to look good.  It could have simply been a pile of black and white letters that informed new employees of policy.  But instead it gave the company the opportunity to infer that the employee’s impression mattered and in turn that they mattered.  I don’t know about you, but that’s how I prefer to feel my first day on the job! 

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Organize the content into logical sections
  2. Use or create a PowerPoint theme consistent with the organization’s style
  3. Insert art or photos that convey the desired impression
  4. Create a menu(s) with hyperlinks
  5. On the Slide Show tab, set up slide show to be “browsed at a kiosk” (this will ensure your content cannot be changed)

When you’re sure your message doesn’t need to be interesting, ask yourself if you’re missing an opportunity to make an impression.  If your audience is expecting something dry, surprise them with something that quenches their thirst and grabs their attention. 

Photo by Kaizen Nguyễn on Unsplash

Note:  If you happen to have eLearning authoring software, even better!  You can create an even more engaging and memorable message! eLearning tools don’t have to be used for training alone.  They can be useful for any kind of communication.  Using eLearning concepts to deliver information is a great way to engage your audience to increase the chances of your message hitting its mark!