Five Simple Ways to Conquer Information Overload and Save Your Employees Time
We all receive more information every day than we can possibly absorb. Research in Southern California found that in 1986, the average person was exposed to about 40 newspapers worth of information a day. By 2006, this number had skyrocketed to 147 newspapers worth, and that’s BEFORE Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram really got started!
So that’s problem #1 – we are all being bombarded!
And then there is problem #2! – we all have a job to do!
You are communicating to your employees who all have a job to do. I can guarantee it’s not spending their day reading your emails, surfing your intranet site, or viewing your videos or presentations for most of their day!!!! Your job is to inform, involve and inspire to boost productivity — no the opposite!
So how do you stand out and capture the attention of your employees, so you don’t take up too much of their valuable time?
Quite honestly, there are no easy answers. We do, however, have some quick tips that you can implement today to help conquer information overload. In our next blog, we ’ll dive deeper into some strategies you can use to connect and engage with your employees so they are informed, involved, and inspired – without being overwhelmed.
But first – the easy changes you can make right now!
- Keep it short. My favourite button is ‘delete’! Keep your text as short as possible. Sometimes editing can be a chore or is seen as a not very important last step, but look at it this way: if you cut 200 words out of every announcement you will save every person in the organization about one minute. If you have 500 employees, that adds up to about one person per day! This can quickly lead to huge efficiency gains over time.
- Make it easy to read. Increase the amount of white space on the page with larger margins, more spaces between columns and lots of headings. This helps people scan the information quickly and zero in on the key points. I try to add important messages right in the headline and headings while drawing people into the text for more details.
- Make it easy to understand. Use shorter words and sentences. How overwhelmed do you get when you see something full of big words, long sentences, and acronyms you don’t remember? People are much more likely to jump in and continue reading if there is a nice flow of information and it is easy to understand.
- Use the right voice. So many internal communications pieces have absolutely no personality. I understand that sometimes messages are serious, but even the most serious message should have some warmth. A friendlier tone, some creative analogies or stories, and even a bit of humour or fun can go a long way towards getting people’s attention. If you are going to interrupt everyone’s day and expect them to read your message, why not write it like it comes from an actual human being instead of a robot?
- Add video or images. Adding a visual helps to capture attention and reinforce your message. Think of it as a one-two punch. Adding an eye-catching image creates interest and makes a message more powerful and memorable. Promoting your company’s community day? Include some pictures of people making a difference and having fun from last year’s event to trigger some happy memories and in turn encouraging them to read on and find out how to participate.
If emails are going unread, and your other communication is just not hitting the mark, give us a call. We’re always happy to help give personalized pointers (coaching!) and chat about your internal communications strategy.