Providing information can be a selfish thing to do


Seems to me that many people think the job is done once information has been shared.

Government ‘awareness’ campaigns, corporate policy documents, consulting recommendation decks, training days…

Once you’ve informed your audience, you’ve met the brief. It’s over to them. 

No. Not good enough.

But what do you want me to do?

We keep hearing about information overload. That people are confronted by thousands of messages and make hundreds of decisions every day.

Well, perhaps it’s not the volume that’s the problem. It’s the lack of clarity.

We feel overwhelmed by information when it is only that. Information.

We’re left wondering, but what now?

Ever uttered or heard these words? 

“I need more time to digest what you’ve said.”

“Please send me an email/your presentation/more information and I’ll get back to you.”

Then you know it’s true.

More information just makes the situation worse.

So, what’s the answer?

Less inform-ation. More info-motion.

Before you create or share something, ask yourself: What do I want them to do as a result? What behaviour am I setting in motion here?

This is your behavioural objective, and should be the starting point of any activity you undertake.

Once you’re clear on that, the question is how are you going to influence the action? What’s your call to arms? Your call to action? Leave your audience in no doubt what is being requested of them.

Let’s take this post as an example.

I have presented an idea – that simply providing information is too passive and it’s our job to go further than that.

Interesting, but insufficient.

What’s the behaviour I want from you?

When drafting an email, writing a document, calling someone, crafting a campaign or delivering training, start with the question, ‘what do I want them to do?’


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