What I like about the jokes, to me it's a lot of logic, no matter how crazy they are. It has to make absolute sense, or it won't be funny. - Steven Wright
Whether funny or not, logic is key to getting any message across. In our previous posts, "Building Audience Confidence" and "Engaging Audiences With Emotion," we discussed the importance of establishing authority and engaging emotion.
But, if information isn't presented in a clear, logical format, no one is going to pay attention. This third part, logos, is the area that causes so many communicators to stumble because it's difficult and time-consuming to arrange information in a manner that is easy to understand.
Ever been on a company site where the content just seems to ramble off-topic? How much effort did you put into trying to decipher what the company was or did?
More than likely, it wasn’t very long. That’s because we have a low tolerance for distractions. What we want is clear, concise information presented in a logical format that is easy to consume. By employing logos, we can do a better job of getting our audience the information they want.
You may have noticed that companies are choosing to have fewer pages with more scrollable content (as opposed to many pages listed in menus). One reason for this change is because of the rising prevalence of touch-screen navigation, delivered via mobile phones and tablets. Additionally, by providing scrollable content, the user's concentration isn't broken which improves the experience. This is one way designers employ reason to help companies reach their users.
Because it doesn't matter how cool a website is, if people struggle with navigation. The same holds true for the content on the website.
Content must be simple. Organized. Elegant.
Words convey meaning, but only if the writer presents that meaning in an easily digestible format. Since my experience has bridged both the corporate and academic world, I've seen that everyone, from students to C-level executives, struggles with organizing their thoughts. This problem is exacerbated when it comes to writing for the web.
Writing for the web is different from any other type of writing because the audience is impatient. As communicators, we compete for our audience's attention against a limitless number of distractions. English teachers train us to create paragraphs with multiple complex sentences. Which is great for an essay.
But, it doesn't work on websites because the minute someone sees a large chunk of text, their eyes skim over it. Audiences require small bits of information at a time. By structuring content to deliver easily scannable information, audiences are more likely to pay attention.
Some easy ways of employing logos follow:
- Use bulleted points. Audiences love lists.
- Use subtitles, so people can skim the information to get to the parts that interest them.
- Employ bold type and italics to make the most important points stand out for the audience.
- Break up longer pieces of content. No one wants to read a paragraph that fills an entire page.
- Cross-link among relevant information. Make it easy for your audience to find more information relating to a specific topic.
- Break up sentences. Yes, I mean fragments. Your English teacher may roll over in her grave, but your audience will thank you for it.
- Use nomenclature that is natural for your audience. You're an expert in your business, but your audience is probably not. Use their language, not yours, when you create your site navigation.
These are just a few strategies to help your company communicate better. If you would like to know more about how to employ rhetoric in your company, read our upcoming posts:
- "Experience or Empathy: Which Builds Better Credibility?"
- "5 Strategies for Building Trust"
- "Goodwill Hunting: Companies Who Get It"