Creating an Eye-Catching Memo

There are two schools of thought when it comes to written communications for a large audience. The first one says that you follow a standard, professional format. This provides the organization with clear, specific parameters for how critical information is disseminated. These are the communications that actually say "MEMO" at the top and are always written in ten-point Times New Roman.

The other school of thought, which I have adopted, suggests that it may be more effective to capture some one's attention and find a way to help them remember the information by employing a more creative technique. Some would find this mildly unprofessional, but in today's world, information flows so quickly that we are truly competing for the attention of our workers at every moment.
Several suggestions for creative written communications:
1. My number one trick, particularly when posting a mandatory inservice, is to put a random, colorful picture at the top. I learned this lesson unforgettably one day when a staff member told me, "I don't usually read your notes, but I had to see why there was a photograph of a camel hanging in the breakroom."
2. Take advantage of your word processor program! Microsoft clipart now has THOUSANDS of pictures, photos, drawings, outlines, and even videos! I searched for banana and came up with more than 100 choices! Many people are visual, and using pictures can help them remember the information after they walk away from the bulletin board.
3. Use fonts and colors! Once again, Microsoft makes it inexcusable for you to create a document that isn't appealing to the eye. Beware using fonts that are too specialized or hard to read. Comic Sans has been used to death. Tahoma, Lucida Sans Writing, and Eras Light are three fonts that I consider "friendlier fonts."
4. Keep it Simple! Remember, you have a person's attention for ten seconds - if they aren't actively seeking out the information, they aren't going to search for it amidst a mess of dialogue. Space things out as much as possible, maximize your font sizes, and only capitalize and bold what is necessary. Nobody likes an all CAPS guy.
Good luck! You can be a creative communicator and still be professional. There is definitely many a time and place for professionally drafted documents, but when it comes to "advertising information" you've got to compete to stay ahead.

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