Monthly Archives: November 2011

Don’t let my glad expression give you the wrong impression

Can you fake a smile? Can you fake that smile and fool others? I’m not asking just because you’ve been practicing over the past holiday weekend. Okay, it gave me the idea. I ask because you might have to deal with this at some point. Most people can fake a smile for the camera. It is much harder to do it for video. So what? If you have to take a group photo you will have a better image if folks are smiling a true smile. No kidding. I know, I know but it is important. If a smile is true it will capture the viewer’s interest and create confidence. If you’re selling something, be it a product or an idea that sincere winning smile is worth something. Back to the group picture. A previous entry gave some tips on photographing groups. I’m going to add the tip of laughter. If you can get your subjects to laugh you will create good will and beautiful genuine smiles. If you’re not a comedian then smile at your subjects—chances are good they will smile back.

Pay attention to me!

You’ve something important to say. How do you make sure the message gets through? Let’s forget for now the medium in which you are going to impart your priceless gift of information. How do get your audience to see what you want them to see? To remember what you want them to remember? It’s obvious you have to make it stand out in some way. Print, web many of the same methods will work. For a while at my old job I would send my emails in red large type. No, not all caps. And it was dark red. I did it because I liked to sit low and slumped in my chair and large type and color was the only way I could see my email. My boss made me stop when some one complained. —The complainer was one big pain in the you-know-what. I sent emails to senior vps and they didn’t mind.— Any way large type and red may not be the best way to go. Here’s what is. Put important bits, bits being small, I’ll say it again, small pieces of information in a box. A lightly shaded box is nice but not if it is a printed piece that is likely to get copied and circulated. If you’re on the web use animation (but not annoying animation), video, color and size. Print work consider color and size. Don’t expect your readers/viewers to recognize the most important piece of information. Direct them to it. Lead them by the proverbial hand. If it’s really important really make it stand out. When to you it really stands out, make it stand out even more. Repeat two more times.

Wait, how’d that go again?

Do you give presentations? Do you train people? Do you issue orders or directions? Do you write instructive manuals or articles? Did you know that four items is pretty much the maximum number of items a person can recall? So what do you do? Simple really, limit the amount of information flowing out. Put out there only what needs to be communicated, not one word more. I can’t, you say, I have ten important points to make, I can’t leave any of it out. Fine. A way to get people to remember information is to group it together. Think of your social security number. It’s three digits, two digits, and four digits. You can remember all nine digits by grouping them. If you want people to remember your information, group it into fours, threes, and twos. Anything over four and that’s it, all over. They will start missing points of information. And trust me, you don’t want to know how quickly they begin forgetting the information you so painstakingly prepared and lovingly imparted.

Goes together like Peanut Butter and Jelly

How do you makes things like photos and text look like they belong together? Put them near each other. You would think that it would pretty obvious but you’d be surprised. How often have you read a news article with that included a photograph of someone featured in the article and the photo was placed way past the part in the text where the person was introduced? It’s important to place things like photos and related text together. Another way to group data such as a table is to separate it with ruled lines above and below or put it in a box. But not too many, a page, be it a web page, PowerPoint slide or printed page will suffer visually if there are too many elements on a it. White space is your friend. Less space between things that go together and more between things that don’t.

Peanut Butter
Jelly

Hot Dog
Mustard