You may have noticed that I focus heavily on the substance of our communication potentially at the cost of minutiae.
While I hold to that, I do think formatting matters for emails and other documents as it helps you keep track of your story while simultaneously helping your audience navigate through it.
So, how do we get that balance right?
Here are some simple principles and templates to help both you and your audience to see the hierarchy of your messaging.
Firstly, some principles to help you signal which part of the structure each element of your communication belongs to. In more detail:
- Make the ‘so what’ pop off the page using white space and bold
- Use bullets and / or numbers to encourage you to break out your points and avoid ‘block shock’
- Break up sections that are longer than 3 lines so your audience can ‘see your point’ without working too hard
Secondly, some templates to help embed instructions inside your documents as reminders and also ways to minimise the need to think about process.
- Consider setting up some email signatures with instructions and formatting embedded within. Download two examples here that you can copy paste into your own signatures.
- Explore using ‘comments' inside your important templates to remind you how to use structure. Download a sample Board Paper template here which you can easily adapt to other forums. Select ‘view markup' to see the comments.
I hope these help and look forward to bringing more ideas to you next week.
PS – Don't forget to register for this week's working sessions too. Go to the Session Registrations tab in the main menu to do so.