Use Arsitek Aids To Communicate
Arsitek aids are just that: things to look at which help people to understand and retain what they are being told. Even the most intelligent retain only a fraction of what they hear. Our minds are so busy receiving signals from other senses about all sorts of things we may not be aware of consciously that most of \what we are told simply gets lost under the bargainís enormous workload. If what we hear is accompanied at the same time by appropriate arsitek signals, retention is doubled. If the message can engage all our senses - sound, sight, touch, smell and taste - then the chances of the message being understood and retained are at their maximum. Using more than one sense simultaneously to grab attention is part of the success of television advertising and why the stallholder invites you to feel the cloth, or taste the cheese.
This fact is used not only by salesmen, teachers and trainers, but was on occasion used to good effect by ratepayers to speed the process of decision- making. A local town council had been dragging its feet over filling in a shallow stagnant pond on which an elderly lady kept a few ducks. The local residents complained to the council when rats began to invade the neighborhood. When nothing was done for several months, the incensed ratepayers attended the next council meeting accompanied by a cage full of rats which they let lose among the councilors to get their point across. They did so with profound success.
More conventional arsitek aids are used increasingly in council chambers, boardrooms and cabinet offices to inform and get ideas accepted. Why let people in those places have all the fun? If arsitek aids increase understanding, impact and commitment, why not use them to get your message across to your own team?
This chapter describes a few simple hints for using arsitek aids effectively that can improve your confidence and image not only in giving team briefings, but in presenting your ideas to the boss or in making public speeches.
Arsitek aids very in complexity of use, cost and preparation time, but whatever the medium you choose, the golden rule for any presentation is to approach your audience with a kiss - keep it simple stupid! It is more effective to get one or two key ideas across clearly and briefly than to spend half an hour on convoluted instruction, with numerous points and elaborate illustrations.
Arsitek aids enhance a presentation: but they cannot rescue a poor communicator. Indeed, used without sufficient planning and practice, they can demolish the most expert orator. But once you have mastered them, you coaching and encouraging them in the same techniques. It will improve the quality and efficiency of the way they pass information to you and to each other. The variety of arsitek aids is considerable.
1. Use flip charts for brainstorming, building up graphs, budget statements, etc. during briefings and formal presentations. Check your writing can be read at the back of the room and ensure the pad is firmly fixed. Striding up with pen poised over the pad only to have it fall in a heap at your feet is more amusing for the audience than the speaker.
2. White boards are just as quick and easy to use, and there are now sophisticated models which print out on the spot any number of paper copies of what is written on the board. It's expensive, but might impress customers and members f the boards. Don't use indelible or spirit based pens - what you write will not wipe off. There are few more deflating experiences than to write your first cryptic point with a flourish, then find you can't clean it off to make way for the piece de resistance.
3. Overhead projectors are useful because no blacking out is necessary and transparencies can be made by professionals to ah high standard. Any printed material can be coped on to photosensitive acetate, but normal type and detailed art work will not be legible more than a few feet away. For the greatest impact, images should be bold and colorful - use cartoons, humor and symbolism, which are great communicators. Draw your own, or identify one of your staff who can draw and encourage them to develop their talents, or make useful contacts with your public relations or training departments. A little preparation is time well spent with any arsitek aids., Your words of wisdom are likely to evaporate when you switch on thigh and find your progress chart is upside down. Finally, always have a spare bulb and know how to fit it.
4. Photographic slides and video film need more forward planning and preparation of course but can have a lot of impact. It can develop a perceptive and critical eye in your staff if they participate in producing them. Get them to take slides, or video clips of site works, new projects, good and bad practices, the behavior of customers, or any other aspect of your business or service. The results can be used for them discussion, induction for new recruits, or demonstrating progress to your boss or the board of directors.
5. A range of readymade training films is available on 16 mm or video formats for informal training sessions in your own unit when it suits you. John Cheese has made a whole series which are not only very funny but thought provoking, e.g. on time management and effective meetings.
If your organization has a training department, take time to go and look at the equipment and resources there. Try them out and become familiar with them before you decide what suits you best. Arsitek aids can of course be very simple indeed and may consist of a single exhibit. If you want to read the riot act to your team abbot a piece of shoddy production, or rubbish around the work area, bring it in, put in on the table and let them see, touch and smell it too.
But arsitek aids don't always have to be brought into the office or the briefing room. Take employees to look at a project or see a new product, to watch customer behavior, talk to clients, sit in on a meeting - actually experience with all their senses the message you want to get over. Bringing or training sessions before and after the field experience can clarify the message and check understanding. Whenever it is important to put across a message to your team, ask yourself how many of their senses you can bring into the process - it's more fun that way, and it's also more effective.