#MonthlyMyth: Glossy, simple content = informed participants

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PLUS 6 SIMPLE TIPS FOR HITTING THE INFORMATION MARK

When you’re preparing information inputs for a community engagement process, you can spend a lot of time producing glossy brochures and simplified, summarised content.  It’s easy to get lost in all the posters and paragraphs and lose sight of what’s important - what you’re really saying about the issue or decision at hand.

We’re big fans of making things visually appealing and easy to navigate (it can help people to get their heads around in-depth or complex information).  However, it doesn’t matter how pretty your report, poster, web page or brochure is if it doesn’t mean anything to your participants.

Getting the balance right can be challenging.  So, in this post we’ll not only address this months myth, we’ll also give you 6 invaluable tips for providing the right information at the right level of detail.

Myth:

Attractive marketing materials and simplified, summarised content results in informed participants and signifies a good process.

IN REALITY:

If you’re a regular reader of the MosaicLab blog you’ll know we believe that informed, quality outputs should be a key objective in any engagement process.  That means you need to provide the information your participants need in an engaging and accessible way - information that will help them to connect and grapple with the issues and dilemmas at hand.

Getting it right is an art.   You can go so high level that the content is no longer useful to participants (i.e. it doesn’t describe what has changed or what is proposed).  Alternatively, you can get too detailed and provide full engineering reports and technical survey data that no one reads at all.  

Synthesising or summarising information (such as the results of an engagement process or themes within a strategy) can be helpful.  But, be careful.  Overdoing it results in information that doesn’t really say anything – information that people will find difficult to provide any useful feedback on.

To help you out, we’ve come up with a 6 tips that you can use next time you’re preparing information inputs for an engagement process.

Because we know visually engaging content can enhance people’s ability to navigate and comprehend lots of information, we’re walking the talk!  Below is a free download summarizing 6 actions you can take to ensure the information you provide is accessible, engaging, appropriate and useful.

 
 

Further helpful reading

We’ve published other content that provides further discussion and ideas related to the provision of information to participants. This includes:

  • This monthly myth – addressing the misconception that everyday citizens can't grapple with or wouldn't be interested in complex topics or in-depth information.
  • This free resource on how to use Pecha Kucha to avoid ‘death by powerpoint’
  • This discussion about a common engagement dilemma – managing a process where participants have mixed levels of knowledge.


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