A Powerful Communications Tool

Young woman holding up a lit firework sparkler

Today, a wide variety of tools are available to help writers and communicators who create documents, presentations and website pages develop and perfect their craft. For example, you can buy storyboarding software to solve one problem and a variety of strange gadgets that seek to solve a range of problems that communicators and writers may have.

I know of one writer who uses a musician's metronome to help him "think". Another is horrified at the idea of allowing a "ticking intrusion"enter her "private writing space." However, in this article, the writer's aid that I'm referring to is not what you may consider to be a tool in the traditional sense, yet it is still a powerful aid, is available to all and can cost absolutely nothing!

How often have we heard the time-honored phrase: "A picture speaks a thousand words." Indeed, the right picture certainly can deliver a better result than several pages of text or speech — especially in an advertising-related publication.

Nevertheless, I'm not really referring to the benefits and delights of imagery in this tip. Rather, I'm particularly interested in what a picture stands for, which essentially is::

  • An example. Yes, an example is an often undervalued tool in that we can use examples to illustrate, explain and share knowledge better. In a sense, an example is a type of word-picture.

A single, carefully created example included in your writing, presentation or web page can suddenly make clear sense of a complex sequence of text.

How often have you started reading an unfamiliar article and struggled to understand what is being said? When this happens, the author hasn't thought through the writing sufficiently well.

Yet perhaps later on in the article or document, a smart writer may provide one or more examples, and suddenly, everything in the explanation makes sense.

Key tip: never forget or underestimate the simple awesome power of using an example in your article, document, speech, presentation or web page.

For complex material especially, a thoughtful writer ensures examples are liberally inserted at the relevant learning points — and especially if what is being shared, is, or can be, in any way ambiguous or confusing. In these instances, examples can make or break the success of a document.

Develop the habit of using familiar examples in your written and verbal communications — and your message will almost certainly succeed to new heights.

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