Steve Valentine shared some interesting excerpts from the work of James Carey (which he learned about via NYU's Jay Rosen). One of Steve's suggestions was to keep track, during the course of a day, of how different conversations and communications would fall under when looking at them through the lenses of Transmission and Ritual communication. Read Steve's post for more about those definitions. Here is a whiteboard template that can be used in conjunction with that exercise.
All of the doodle artwork in Make Yourself Clear was created with Explain Everything using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (2nd Gen.). I had actually done one entire set of doodles, but seeing them in context with the book and in print made me realize that a thicker, heavier style would translate better and also be more discernible when smaller versions of the images might be used.
In order to have consistency, I started with a blank project and set up the pen and highlighter thicknesses and colors to the ones I wanted to use. I also had to think about framing the doodles and whitespace around them so that if it was a simple doodle - like a single object - it would not be much larger and thicker in comparison to doodle with multiple components.
In the screenshot above, you will notice the first iteration of one particular doodle (about communication channels) and the second iteration. I think both work well digitally, but the bottom one translates better to the size and medium of our book.
To create some on brand, multi-colored doodles for the Make Yourself Clear website, I first had to set up some custom colors in Explain Everything. Using the eye-dropper in the color picker, I was able to pull the 3 colors from an imported image (the one at the top) and set my color palette to match This made it easy to use the colors in lines, object fills, bucket fills, and shape colors. And, those colors stay with the project so if I need to come back and add more images, I'll have those colors ready to go.
"There is a saying in the teaching profession: Whoever is working the hardest is learning the most. Too often, it’s the teacher. " - from Make Yourself Clear
At the next 5 group or team meetings ( >3 people) of the same group that you have either called or have called people to (i.e., you are the meeting owner), keep track of how time is being used with the template linked below. If you are the person who called the meeting and cannot realistically run the meeting and manage the time tracking, ask a volunteer to be the time keeper.
Once you have tracked time over the course of 5 meetings, ask yourself who is working the hardest? Who is learning the most? Documenting the use of time in this way makes it easier to identify patterns and introduce measures for course correction.
When you understand each individual from a larger audience you are trying to reach, you will be able to form a stronger relationship and ultimately be able to be clear in communicating to that collective audience.
It may not be possible to have all of the information necessary at all times, but it is helpful to sketch out and jot down what you know, or perhaps might be curious about, before engaging in a sales call, service request, individual meeting, or training session.
Prior to writing our book, we spent time thinking about the various audiences we were trying to reach - building from existing knowledge of a few individuals as well as assumptions that were later confirmed or adjusted.
Use this PDF to sketch out your own personas.
In our forthcoming book - Make Yourself Clear: How to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything, and Be Understood, Steve and I write about “unwanted immediacy.” This is often evident in notifications, reminders, and unsolicited emails that appear in inboxes.
Not everything that can happen immediately necessarily should. Sometimes, these acts of immediacy border on intrusion. How much unwanted immediacy are you creating for your constituents? How much unwanted immediacy are you experiencing yourself?
To reflect further on this, we suggest the following mixed-media exercise:
I think I have a pretty good handle on my email and alerts, but in 16 minutes I had more than a few notifications. The first calendar reminder I received I guess was helpful, but I dismissed it before even reading what it was. I had to reset the alert just so I can make the screenshot (the contents of which I then edited out for this post).
Most notable, towards the end of my brief experimental period, was a sales/marketing email from a company from which I have received many unsolicited messages. The problem is that the "1" above my mail icon could be something internal and useful, or it could be useless like this message. I did select the option to stop sending the emails.
Give this exercise a try - even in 5 minutes you may be more aware of your relationship with reminders, alerts, and other signals of immediacy.
I've been communicating with a book production manager in India who has been assigned to lead the design and production of my next book. It has been super convenient to be able to send annotated PDFs with suggested changes.
In my classroom, there are 4 large displays which make it easy to see what is being projected from any vantage point. Last night we did design activity using the card game Disruptus. Students were given a handout and some random Disruptus cards to do a quick innovation exercise. They sketched their idea on paper and then posted it on a wall. Students had the opportunity for a 'gallery walk' and to see the work of their classmates. When my co-instructors and I wanted to do a deep dive into a few, I photographed them in Explain Everything and add them to the canvas, using the Zoom and Laser Pointer tools to call attention to the different examples we were highlighting.
As part of our final wrap-up for a week long course, we facilitate a reflection-oriented discussion to help students synthesize notably the week's learnings but also how those learnings will be applied in each one of their contexts. With two instructors, we have found that this works well when my colleague drives the discussion while I document it real-time on a whiteboard that is visible to all of the students. What is in the artifact below makes the most sense to those students who were in the class - a quick visual reminder of things that were shared.