Mandy Collins & Associates

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Why starting at the end gives your communication greater impact

I was reviewing an incredibly complex strategic communications plan today, and the more I read it, the more unsettled I became.

There was too much explanation going on in the key messaging and carefully crafted narrative – the kind that makes you start to wonder what risk the writer is trying to mitigate. I couldn’t figure it out.

And just as I was about to make a note for the comms exec I work with, I came to the final page, where all of the risks were outlined – and suddenly those explanations made sense.

And so I suggested they move those risks right to the top of the plan – to the same section where they outline who needs to use it, and for what purpose. Understanding those risks is vital, and will help users to engage with the key messaging in the right way.

We have a tendency to build up to our grand conclusion, to pave the groundwork for the most important stuff, but in a dense, 33-page document, you run the risk of people running out of steam before they get there.

So start with the bottom line; give the context and background afterwards. And if you can, start with the “why”.

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