LearnShareProsper logo Boosting Business_Performance Adele Sommers
by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
 www.LearnShareProsper.com Adele@LearnShareProsper.com 
In This Issue

October 2022
Volume 18, Issue 10

These are free monthly tips on boosting business and professional results.

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Below find this month’s newsletter, hot off the press!

  • Special Message: A Quick, Effective Way to Discover What Will Pique Your Audience’s Curiosity and Interest
  • Feature Article: Seven Ways to Use Information Design to Create Remarkable Audience Experiences (Part 3)

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Note from the Author

We’re Wrapping up the Series on Information Design...

Colored pencils
In last month's newsletter,
we continued our exploration of information design, the art and science of creating content, such as for training, business, technical, marketing, and educational purposes.

We’ve now arrived at the final leg of our discovery process. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Rather than presenting a technology-heavy overview of content creation trends, this journey aimed to highlight timeless and classic methods and principles that apply regardless of your message or medium.

In this third installment, we’ll build on the foundation from the previous articles. To recap the three major themes we’ve been covering with our seven crucial tips:

  • Part 1: Lay a Foundation for Clear Understanding
  • Part 2: Help Your Audiences Do What They Really Need to Do
  • Part 3: Add Novelty and Interactivity to Stir Emotion and Spur Action!

I hope you enjoy today’s special features, and be sure to leave your comments on my Facebook page!

Here’s to your business prosperity,

Adele Sommers, Ph.D., business improvement specialist, author, educator, and award-winning instructional designer

P.S. If you missed any previous issue, please visit the newsletter archive!

Special Message

A Quick, Effective Way to Discover What
Will Pique Your Audience’s Curiosity and Interest

Let’s say you’re writing an article or creating another kind of production based on one of your areas of expertise. But you’re just not sure how to fine-tune the content to speak to your audience’s deeper emotional stirrings — such as their challenges, problems, fears, worries, hopes, aspirations, goals, and dreams — because you don’t know precisely who will be engaging with the finished product.

Or, perhaps the audience consists of the kinds of people you know well, but you might be taking them for granted by assuming you know exactly what motivates and inspires them to act. In either case, you’ll want to find out in advance what’s going on in their minds and hearts before expending too much effort on building out your material.

In these situations, consider pre-surveying your audience to collect clarifying insights. By using a no-cost, online service like SurveyMonkey or eSurveysPro, you can easily produce a questionnaire to post online or send via e-mail. If you decide to try this effective data-gathering approach, here are some important design tips:

Happy online survey-taker1) Include only a few relevant questions, not a long list. (Your respondents are busy!)

2) Keep it simple, engaging, and non-intimidating. (If it feels like a nosy quiz, people might not respond!)

3) Start by asking, “What’s your top-most burning question, challenge, or concern related to this subject?” Then look carefully for hot-button themes as you compile your respondents’ answers. These are the areas you’ll want to highlight in your finished product.

Ideally, the survey results will shed invaluable light on what speaks to your audience’s emotional core, and just as importantly, expose topics they’re not very interested in or comfortable with. Armed with that input, you can focus like a laser beam on their top-priority issues in your content and productions — and avoid a situation in which you might wind up turning people off.

Feature Article

Seven Ways to Use Information Design
to Create Remarkable Audience Experiences (Part 3)

by Adele Sommers

Colored pencils
Part 1 and Part 2 of this series
have been discussing how effective information design produces remarkable audience experiences.

These types of experiences grab and sustain the interest of our users, visitors, prospects, readers, learners, and customers — and help them understand, learn, and act.

Whether you’re creating publications, Web sites, online training, multimedia productions, marketing material, or something similar, you can engineer audience success by crafting your content to be as clear, memorable, and usable as possible!

In the first two articles, we covered the first five of the seven tips in the series:

A. Lay a Foundation for Clear Understanding

Tip #1: Use persona profiles to understand what makes your audience tick
Tip #2: Structure information to help people scan, skip, and retrieve what matters
Tip #3: Strive to limit audience overload, especially in training and presentations

B. Help Your Audiences Do What They Really Need to Do

Tip #4: Research your audience’s “circumstances of use”
Tip #5:
Eliminate all unnecessary tasks, and test everything for ease of use

The final two tips, below, focus on the intrigue, fascination, and all-around sense of excitement you can blend into your productions to spark the audience responses you seek!

C. Add Novelty and Interactivity to Stir Emotion and Spur Action

Tip #6: Inspire and persuade audiences through emotion-generating experiences

Usability continues to evolve over timeAccording to the researchers at Human Factors International (HFI), experts in making things easy to use, the field of usability has evolved to a new level of maturity.

Usability used to focus primarily on how quickly and easily typical users can comprehend a website, system, device, or software program.

On websites, for example, site visitors or testers would attempt specific tasks, such as searching for information, navigating, or using the shopping cart. That was then...

But more recently, usability has grown into also measuring how visitors feel about being on the site, and how their feelings influence their actions. These more subtle and nuanced aspects of usability involve what’s known as persuasion technology. The basic premises of persuasion technology are as follows:

  • Websites today must be more than just efficient, intuitive, and satisfying to use. (Those qualities are necessary, but no longer sufficient by themselves.)
  • Site visitors experiencing a range of emotionsExperiments have shown that people make many types of decisions based on emotion even more than reason, so Web sites must formulate visitor experiences that can unleash powerful feelings.

    To effectively influence visitor behavior, a site may need to convey an inspiring, reassuring, exciting, entertaining, thrilling, or even an anger- or fear-inducing message!
  • Websites must simultaneously build trust as well as persuade visitors to take action, such as subscribing to a newsletter, buying a product, asking a medical professional about a health issue, contributing to a worthy cause, or making an investment.

Regardless of the purpose of a Web site, it must motivate people to make decisions that lead to conversion. It’s no longer enough to give a visitor a pleasant, “I can do it” experience. The site must compel and inspire visitors to say, “I will do it!” and then take action based on their feelings.

Tip #7: Offer an irresistible call to action, with a variety of incentives to get there!

Dancing coupleBy introducing novelty, engagement, and compelling interactivity into our content, we can tempt our visitors to tango with our ideas.

But once we’ve whirled our audiences — such as site visitors, readers, users, viewers, learners, prospects, and customers — around the dance floor a few times, what do we do with the resulting rhythm?

It’s crucial to carry the tempo from the excitement of the moment to the next set of moves we want our audiences to learn.

That’s why you won’t want to leave your dance partners vague about their next steps. Instead, you’ll want to be totally clear about how they should follow your lead.

So, for example:

  • In presentations, websites, and multimedia messages, are you asking your audience to embrace your proposals and ideas? Attend your next class or workshop? Follow your recommendations? Endorse your organization? Sign up for your newsletter? Accept your findings? Contribute to a cause?
  • In the arena of online learning, are you designing your training programs around the real-world situations in which your learners need to perform? Are you building a bridge between your content and the learners ability to apply new skills on the job? Are you striving to create incentives, irresistible “calls to practice,” and support systems that help learners follow through?

In short, you owe it to your audiences and to the tremendous effort you put into your creative work to close the loop and square the circle. Think through what you want your audience to do next, and choreograph a process to help them get there!

Aside from the ubiquitous “share,” “like,” and “tweet” buttons that accompany almost everything online today, you can give your participants something truly constructive and meaningful to do, online or in person. For instance,

  • Man having a bright ideaWhen you give a live presentation, you can circulate your newsletter sign-up sheet (or send a thank-you e-mail that offers a subscription).
  • When you provide a creative self-assessment for visitors to take, it can link to your advice and helpful options, such as educational products or services.
  • A no-cost, introductory webinar can segue into a series of related workshops you offer, by way of a description and invitation to register.
  • A video about your services can link to a page where visitors can explore their options, request more information, or sign up for your program!

In Conclusion...

From the seven tips we explored in this series, we’ve seen how our audience’s experiences with our information, products, systems, and services can become truly remarkable. And when we apply these techniques in combination, we amplify and accelerate their ability to understand, learn, do, recall, and respond!

Copyright 2022 Adele Sommers

About the Author

"Straight Talk" Special Report
"Straight Talk" Workbook

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance” — an award-winning Special Report and Workbook program.

If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this down-to-earth overview of how 12 potent business-boosting strategies can reenergize the morale and productivity of your enterprise, tame unruly projects, and attract loyal, satisfied customers. It’s accompanied by a step-by-step workbook designed to help you easily create your own success action plan. Browse the table of contents and reader reviews on the description page.

Adele also offers no-cost articles and resources to help small businesses and large organizations accelerate productivity and increase profitability. Learn more at LearnShareProsper.com.

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