The surprise factor



Continued from previous post . . . Sometimes all it takes for a message to cut through the clutter is to be surprising (and raising the bar as you go along).  TRANSFORM messages by:

     CONTEXTUALIZING . . . embed information where it’s needed and relate it to previous information

     PERSONALIZING . . . develop various versions with various levels of detail for targeted groups

     ELABORATING . . . create value-added information (action items, ratings and rankings by the community on information usefulness, stories, metaphors, etc.)   [Ed. note: Sparingly.]

     STANDARDIZING . . . set guidelines for communication and information formats, such as e-mail and reporting etiquette.  (Heard of the “Bill Gates format” at Microsoft?)

     VISUALIZING . . . graphs and diagrams, but also qualitative methods like visual metaphors or sketches

I’m a big fan of visualizing.  Note how the White House has picked up on this.

Five mechanisms for transforming messaging, from Eppler and Mingis.

Final post on this topic: their six RECOMMENDATIONS for communicating in an “overload environment.”

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