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Showing Rather Than Explaining

Showing what you mean is often the better strategy than trying to explain what you mean. Visuals grab attention and are more likely to be shared than narrative explanations.

Showing what you mean is often the better strategy than trying to explain what you mean. Visuals grab attention and are more likely to be shared than narrative explanations.

In the battle to win over public opinion, showing is a better strategy than explaining.

For the vast majority of people, public issues are often too puzzling to take the time to understand, let alone take sides. If you want them on your side, you need to reduce the issue to comprehensible size and give them a reason to pay attention. Only then will you have a chance to turn them from disinterested bystanders to supporters.

Getting people's attention demands simplifying what you share to essentials and focusing on what will interest your intended audience, even if it isn't your narrative. Showing your audience what you mean and why they should care may open the door down the line for them to listen to your longer explanation.

Visualization is one of the strongest ways to show what you mean. An image can show perspective. An infographic can give a visual description of a process. A chart can demonstrate critical contrasts.  An illustration can compress a lot of meaningful detail into an easy-to-grasp picture. Good design can guide the eyes of viewers to key information or the sequence of data that you present.

Shareability is a serendipitous byproduct of well-done visual explanations. Some people share stories with friends; a lot more people share cool pictures and infographics with friends.

Shareability is a great test for audience-centric communication because a "share" reflects whether a visualization conveys something important to the sender. 

Sending a message is important, but your message will never be received if you don't aim at the heart strings of viewers, which is a core difference between showing and explaining. You want to explain, but your audience wants to be shown.

Designing your information to show what you mean in an interesting, compelling, disarming or entertaining way is a more effective way to attract attention and sway opinion. Save your explanations for later.

Stock Online Newsrooms with Visual Assets

A new survey shows corporate online newsrooms are underperforming, in part for lack of trying to meet evolving news media needs. 

Traditional newsrooms are running with smaller staffs as newspapers and magazines try to convert or at least adapt to digital platforms. As a result, there is heightened interest by news reporters and editors in images, video and links they can use as part of stories. TV stations share in this interest as they seek to build strong web presences.

However, managers of corporate online newsrooms often fail to provide this kind of content, resulting in lost opportunities for more dominant coverage of their story pitches.

Sally Falkow, president of PRESSfeed, which conducted the survey, says 83 percent of journalists surveyed wanted images to accompany text. But only 38 percent of corporate online newsrooms included visual assets. The disconnect, Falkow told ragan.com, reflects a sluggish response by PR professionals to a more visually oriented news environment.