Traditional vs Creative Communication

Traditional vs Creative communication
How are you getting your message across?

How many times have you expressed an idea through words and left people confused?

Are you sure they really got your message?

All too often we express thoughts and ideas through words.

In a previous life, I had to prepare detailed reports which took hours to compile, and then I’d still have to sit in a boardroom to explain things. I hated it.

Today, many of us use blogs to communicate our ideas – we leave ourselves wide open to misinterpretation, we run the risk of alientating the audience we so crave, and above all, we sacrifice getting our idea across.

You talkin’ to me? 

 I work with people who are very much like myself – they are creative entrepreneurs.

They are usually extremely creative people and possess minds which are often brilliant but struggle to coherently express themselves.

They hate pages and pages of words as that kills the beautiful animations that lie inside their minds.

Over 60% of people are visual learners – I’d assume this number is far higher amongst entrepreneurs.

Are you missing out on getting your message across to the right people because of your words?

Images communicate across borders

Words limit us to those who speak the same language, and by that I am not talking about English.

The English language has various cultural differences.

Humour, sarcasm, and  metaphors are often misunderstood through words when you go across borders.

Borders also apply to professions – can you assume an accountant and a graphic designer to grasp the same message without visual aids? Probably not.

Words often force us into a corner, we run the risk of being too intrenched in our field that we alienate people who don’t understand our jargon. This IS the curse of knowledge.

The power of attention (and retention)

Have you read an awesome blog post recently? Can you tell me what it was about, in detail? No.

We don’t retain words in the same way as we remember visuals. 

Can you tell me in detail what happens in the final scene in Dirty Dancing? (I know Marcus Sheridan can)

Or what about your favourite advert? Or your favourite cartoon from childhood?

Using images, no matter how basic, can help communicate to a wider audience, help you connect with more people, and keep your message fresh and understandable.

What are your thoughts on traditional vs. creative communication?

16 Responses to Traditional vs Creative Communication

  1. Interesting article making a point that has helped me decide how to do something I’ve been pondering unsuccessfully for a while.

    Could you please place here in the comments where your 60%+ visual learners fact came from – the source?

    Thanks,

    Ted

    • Hey Ted,

      It was something that we studied on my MSc in Marketing programme in Manchester. It was from Neil Carlson “Physiology of Behavior”. 2004

      I guess, empirically we can assume that the rise in popularity with YouTube’s how to guides people respond better to images and sound than they do to text – obviously it’s not for everyone!

      Thanks for coming over!

  2. How could I not reply to a Dirty Dancing reference?? 🙂

    I’m amazed at what gets lost at times in translation Ameena. Sometimes folks are just plain lazy readers and skim too dang much. Other times, my writing fails to produce.

    Frankly, we simply can’t be blunt enough. Nor can we dumb it down enough. This is what makes for great communication IMO.

    And it also further lends itself to your point about images.

    Much thanks lady!

    Marcus

    • Hey Marcus,

      I don’t think it’s about being a “lazy reader” to be honest. Some people just can’t cope with all those words!!!

      I’m dyslexic and when I say that people usually gasp and say “Oh no! What are you going to do about it???” Then I laugh! Do about it? It’s not an illness. Anyway, my bookworm days are done, a degree and a masters is enough!

      I struggle with pages and pages of words, they literally dance infront of my eyes after a while – maybe it’s my brain begging for some action …

      If I land on a post with no pictures I bounce. I need the visual to help guide me, lure me. I guess that’s why today I decided to share how I retain information.

      Thanks for sharing … I couldn’t resist the Dirty Dancing connection 🙂

      • Ok. So thats why your Guest post was so short. Ha ! Just kiddin. Please don’t misinterpret my humor. I’m sure you won’t. You already know I’m crazy. Lol

        Really love this post. It got me thinking. I agree with Marcus about keeping it simple (easy for me) because thats what i like. And I am like you, I get bogged down with too many words.

        Loved your guest post, by the way. It was very Encouraging ! Thank you.

        Al

  3. I’ve taught school for many years and have learned how extremely important it is to use engaging images/visuals when trying to get ideas across to both children and adults. As a result, I create “pages” for myself and now for my own blog that are very visual,contain symbols or metaphors and are colorful. I’ve learned that I need to add short explanations under that image on the blog, because some people need the added explanations…but I keep it short.
    I saw your guest post on encouragement on the care site…thank you for your ideas…they’re wonderful!

    • Hey Kathy, thanks so much for sharing! You sound like an AWESOME teacher! Ironically the only teacher I had who used visuals was my biology teacher and I sucked at that!

      Hope to see you here again! Lovely to “meet you”!

  4. To me a post without an image isn’t too bad if the content is really good, but I can identify with it more with an image to really get what they meant. I think images small or large actually gives a post life. The image might tell a completely different story and it makes me want to read more.

    • Yes! I love images, actually, I NEED them. I love short snappy posts but struggle to get them out myself. It’s a goal for me! I guess I’ve quite a chatty person IRL so I tend to write a lot (but I then struggle with editing because words kill me after a while!) I guess that’s why I’ve now decided to make a change in my direction and go more visual.

      Thanks for coming over Sonia!

  5. I think you already know that I LOVE this style of presenting information. I am one of those people who “hate pages and pages of words” I am not a visual learner but an audio learner so I remember more of what I hear. However the pictures are great for helping me remember what I read.

    I love your drawings! Keep it up! Who knows you may have a second career in illustrating!

    • Hey Amber! Thanks!

      I don’t think that anyone is 100% visual/audio/kinesthetic etc … Personally I like images AND words … audio is very hard for me just by itself which is why I’ve never done well with audio books because there is no other stimulus.

      Glad you like the drawings … was a challenge to have the confidence to put them out there as it’s usually something I just do for myself (and John) 🙂

  6. Ameena,

    I love the diagram! When I’m trying to communicate an idea I often like to create an illustration like you’ve done here. I also love to use visuals when speaking in front of a group.

    With my design background I’d love to eventually use more illustration vs. just photos on my blog. Right now, I simply use stock, but spend plenty of time trying to find the most appropriate image. I need to have a little fun with it though like you do.

  7. Hi Ameena,

    I am still waiting to see your paintings, but now I’m getting closer. Your diagram was just brilliant.

    I have thought a lot about visual and creative communication, and that’s mostly because I’m Norwegian and most of my audience are from the US or at least speaks a different language than me. I have thought about using images more, and even videos, where I can explain myself without writing or talking. But, I really suck at drawing, and I can’t explain myself through music, so at the moment I’m stuck with writing. But, I just saw Adriennes old video where she added awesome inspirational quotes and some background music, and that video had more than 750,000 views.

    Anyway, I wish I could paint and draw like you, if I could, I know that I would do it a lot, probably on all my blog posts.

  8. I think I bridge the literal and the visual – similar to you – since I have a background in writing and art. I’m always trying to find the perfect images to illustrate my posts. Sometimes, it’s difficult. Perhaps I should draw my own illustrations as you’re planning to do?

    I remember John talking about form and function a few weeks ago. That comment was in reference to email, but form and function are equally important to blogs and other writing. I think both are necessary. They make a message that much more compelling.

  9. I have read this today after first buying two pretty notebooks, two lovely fine liners, and a sharp pencil and then spending half an hour in the car (whilst waiting to pick my son up from school) DRAWING my ideas out!
    I am so glad that others out there also think that sometimes its the only way to clarify ideas that are otherwise whizzing around in your head so much that you can’t actually bring any of them together in a coherent way!
    Thanks alot for this post- has reassured me! 🙂

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