Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Infographics and your communications with your constituents

Lately, I have been seeing more and more clever uses for infographics and think that it is time for us to incorporate them into our communications. What is an infographic you say? Well, other than this definition here, I would ask you to take a look at the following images:

Powerful stuff huh?

Remember when you were in school and all of the kids didn't learn the exact same way? Some learned by reading, some by listening, some by doing, and some through viewing? This is the exact same principal to bring to our communications with our constituents. Info graphics are dynamic ways to tell a complex story or deliver important information in a visual and engaging manner. They combine different learning and user absorption styles into one powerful message, yours.

But, I know what you're thinking, uhm, Lynne, I have a hard enough time coming up with good communication pieces? Why try this shiny new technique?

I would challenge you to think that, just like in school, your constituents all see information and learn differently. Some of them will take the time to read that beautifully crafted story you want to tell them. Others either don't have the time or aren't interested in the narrative.

Think about it this way, often we are asked to propose new ideas to our leadership. I can't tell you how many times I have seen evidence that the story isn't as important as the charts, statistics, and graphs that are so necessary for them and often left behind by us, too wrapped up in the emotional component and the message. Info graphics bridge this for us with our constituents and can be a powerful tool.

So, how do you make one of your own to incorporate into your communications? Remember, imitation I the finest form of flattery. See one you like in a google search like this? Copy it and incorporate your data. Your designers/communications folks will be thrilled you are trying new methods and will be happy to work on the effort with you. Here is a great article on how to create one from scratch. Start simple, maybe using info graphics we all grew up with like a modified venn diagram or other familiar shape.

Then, challenge yourself, your teammates and your colleagues to get creative. There are many sources for inspiration out there! Remember, as we speed through our daily lives both at work and at home and data begins to overwhelm and overload us, it is our challenge to overcome this and make it easier and quicker for our constituents to understand the need and impact o their giving. Now, it's up to you to help tell the story.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments, samples and links.



1 comment:

  1. Kind of funny - really points to the different styles for learning/processing. Two of these I just skipped by because they are too dense; one of them I couldn't read without leaning close to the screen so went on to the next. For me, the infographics work if they are really easy to take in at a glance. The Red Cross one is most effective for me. The toilet one is simple, sort of, but I don't understand the call to action or what I'm supposed to take away (at a glance). I agree that images/graphics are so important for taking in information. The most effective with me have been the scattergraphs that animate over time, with a really good presenter explaining what's going on. Seeing the difference from one time to another sticks with me. My kinetic learning brain? Thanks, Lynne. I like thinking about ways other than words to present what I want to convey (but then, I report to a chain of command of 3 english majors).