Illustration: Ashley Siebels
A colleague mentioned the fact that he received two nearly identical emails last week. Both had the exact same information, timeline and takeaways. He read through both, but when it came to remembering the point of each, one stood out more than the other – the one with a simple but extremely easy to understand infographic.
While human beings can’t be infographics, cutting down on conversational clutter can make people more inclined to listen to what you say. In other words, trying to keep your messaging and presentations as clear and on point as those handy dandy chart and info hybrids can make people pay more attention to you and your messaging.
1. Take it easy
One of the joys of a well-designed infographic is the fact that while there may be a lot of information to digest, there aren’t necessarily that many words. Keep the information easy to understand and retain.
2. Know your target audience
An image of a juicy hamburger definitely wouldn’t work when pitching a group of vegans, so why take a chance on alienating the people you’re trying to impress? Take a moment to figure out your audience before launching into a pitch or request. Try to tailor your request so that it’s personalized to the person or group on the receiving end.
3. Know your stats
The strength of many infographics is the seemingly effortless presentation a lot of dense information, usually statistics. If you’re going to quote specifics to strengthen an argument, make sure you know what you’re talking about. Research facts, figures and statistics in advance and only use them sparingly and effectively.
4. Embrace visuals when possible
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, but unless you plan on walking around with a sandwich board, it can be hard to emulate an actual infographic. Instead, if you’re planning on giving a pitch or informal presentation try to have at least one visual cue or anchor for people to focus on. It will also take some of the pressure off while you’re speaking.
5. Keep it manageable
One of the joys of infographics is the fact that there’s a lot of really juicy information contained in a single series of connected images. Wait until a full-fledged meeting to share all your most brilliant ideas, but in the initial stages stick to the most important points.
6. Tweet Tweet
Twitter can be an interesting place to find out updates and information–more so since users are limited to 140 characters per update. If you’re struggling with a complicated idea, try to imagine how you might tweet it out and then finesse the grammar, before sharing with others.
7. Add some white space
When you have big ideas, you sometimes want to include all of them, even if there isn’t quite room for everything. Think about the most bold and eye-catching infographic; there’s usually white space which allows you to absorb the main ideas instead of feeling overwhelmed by them. Try to remember to leave blank spaces in your messaging as well, to give people the ability to simply accept and retain your ideas.
8. Stay in touch
One of the biggest frustrations of our sometimes confusingly connected lives is the fact that it can feel impossible to simply and immediately connect with someone. Infographics are awesome because they tend to include only the most important way to create with their creators. The next time you meet someone new think about the way you most want to connect with them and share only that bit of contact information. People can get so bogged down with communication methods that they forget to connect.