Sharing information


March 21st, 2013

IMG_6574Increasingly, I’m being asked this question of face-to-face meetings: “How can we make sure people have received our information unless we do a presentation?”

It is a well-intentioned question. It is (usually) a genuinely curious question. Those asking it do indeed have important information that they have for others. Sometimes it is potentially life-saving information, so we’re not talking trivialities here.

It’s often easy to do a presentation. It’s timely: you can present to a lot of people at the same time. It’s expected: no-one is shocked that you would choose to do a presentation. You can make sure you don’t forget anything important. And you can often adapt an existing presentation, saving time to get on with other things. You often get feedback that reinforces how useful it was to receive all that information.

So why consider anything else?

It’s the danger that the message wasn’t received at all.

Especially if there’s multiple messages, lots of information and supporting information.

There really is no way to make absolutely sure that your message was received. Unless you submit people to a test afterwards, and even that may only be a memory test. Further testing would be needed to discover understanding. All you can do it give your information in a way that maximises the possibility that people receive and understand it.

How to do that?

Provide ways for people to engage with the information in some way.

Here’s why this is harder to do. It takes more time. It takes more effort. It takes some different thinking to come up with ideas for how to get people to engage more. It’s often unexpected.

I think it’s worth the effort and the risk.

Here’s some ways to share information (you can find descriptions here). What ways have you shared information with large groups?

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