Are we catering to all our employees’ needs? Are we really aware of everyone’s disability?
Why are most of us being discriminating? Why do we put some of the people we should be supporting at a disadvantage?
A few months ago I had personal reasons to look at the material I was producing for clients. Are we as professional communicators providing the best service we can? Or are we providing what looks good to our immediate paymasters?
Am I blind?
A few months ago I was unfortunate to suffer from a very severe viral eye infection. During this period I had difficulty seeing much. The professional journals were often difficult to read. This is due to font size and colour contrast. This difficult time taught me more about visual aids than I have ever had before.
The conference nightmare
Over the years I have spoken at many conferences. I have attended many more as a participant. many times I have noticed that the slides were designed for the presenter and not the audience.
I have designed many Train the Trainer programmes. I often talk about “visual aids”. This means having clear visuals that add to the learning. How important this element is to effective communication was brought to my attention recently.
The Health Service need to learn too
Over the weekend, I had the need to revisit the hospital again. This is a speciality eye hospital in London. Whilst in the waiting room, I became aware of the information screens. At first, I thought that there were some interesting facts. Then it struck me. There were 2 screens. One designed for people with eye problems. The other for the giver of information. Side by side.
Have a look at the image below. If you were the recipient of a communication which would you prefer?
What are you going to change in your communication messages in the future?
This photo was taken in row 6 of 10. What chance do people have of seeing the information on the right?
Visual design in everything we do
Design your communication tools with clarity. In his book “Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching“, Edgar Dale says
“…upon the principle that all teaching can be greatly improved by the use of such materials, because they can help make the learning experience memorable”
“We have said “all” teaching because audio-visual materials when used intelligently, can promote the most effective kind of learning”
In other words, any visual aid that is used should ADD to the learning, not distract. If just ONE person cannot read your visuals, then as a communicator you have failed!
In her book slide:ology – the art and science of creating great presentations, author Nancy Duarte points readers to “Responding to Audience Needs“.
“Consider the kind of relationship you want to have with your audience. Do you want to be their hero? Their mentor?….. good presenters aren’t in it for themselves; they’re in it for others”
If we want to communicate effectively we could do worse than follow one piece of information from Guy Kawasaki. Guy once had to listen to 100s of people pitch their business. Few presentations were great. So he came up with the 10/20/30 rule:
Would your presentations pass this test? Will your audience be able to read your “words of wisdom?”
In just a few short weeks time, there will be almost 100 Learning and Development professionals delivering presentations at the UKs annual Learning and Development Show. I bet that over 80% of the presentations will not be readable from the back row!