Many people are visual learners – they absorb information better through what they can see, not what they hear. Visuals can include photos, pictures, animations, screencasts, screenshots, infographics, graphs, displays, videos and other content that the eye is drawn to.
A study by John Medina – a molecular biologist who specializes in human brain development – found that the average person will remember only around 10 % of everything they hear when they are tested on it 72 hours later. However if visual elements were included, that information retention increases to 65 % 72 hours later!
Visual content can also inspire human emotions and provoke reactions in ways that text alone cannot always inspire.
For internal communicators, the addition of visual content to your arsenal of tools can help you to provide information to employees more effectively. It goes back to the old communications maxim of “show, don’t tell”.
A report by TechSmith found that businesses could unlock $167 billion in productivity each year by making use of visuals in their workplace communications.
This might not even paint the full picture globally, this was only across six geographic regions that they studied.
The report also found that two out of three employees carried out tasks more effectively if they had received visual communication about it and also absorbed the information seven % faster.
One of the banes of the modern workplace is having to attend too many meetings, especially when some of them are long and boring, eating up time that could be spent doing other things.
A study by Wharton Business School found that visual content can cut meeting times by up to 24 %.
While visual communication has benefits across the entire workforce, younger workers in particular are more responsive to it. Millennials and Generation Z are now the biggest age cohort within the workplace.
The TechSmith report found this age demographic is twice as likely as baby boomers to use video and images to communicate personally in their own time (for example on social media) and are twice as likely to want more visual communications in the workplace.
According to Gallup research, 55% of Millennial employees are not engaged and 15% are actively disengaged – if you’re not making use of methods that can cut through and reach them, you may not be able to turn this around.
How to make the most of visual content in your workplace
In some cases you will be able to replace written content entirely with visuals, and in other cases visuals can complement the written words.
Examine your communication needs and ask yourself if there is anything that could be better communicated visually – or enhanced with visuals- to reach your employees?
1. Just make a start
You may not have the services of an in-house graphic designer or videographer to create content… but there are still some great tools available that can help you to create more engaging visual content even as a beginner. For example Canva or imgflip.
If you do have the luxury of designers and videographers in your organization, you can work with them to create visuals that are consistent with your branding.
2. Tell stories
People like stories and respond well to them. Storytelling shouldn’t just be reserved for external communication and marketing activities. Internally, visuals can be used to communicate success stories and highlight achievements and wins that your staff have been involved in. What did they do? Why did they do it? How did they do it? What was the outcome? Simple storytelling can inspire positive actions in others.
3. Show visuals of real people
Most internal communicators have probably had resistance from employees who don’t like having their photo taken and have opted instead to use a stock photo or abstract image to illustrate something. It’s worth continuing to fight this battle and to persuade people to be involved in photos.
There’s a reason news and magazine stories and advertising material uses images of people to tell a story: people respond better to visuals of people, and for internal communications this should mean visuals of people from your company doing things they can relate to.
4. Use visuals to simplify information
Visual communication methods can help you to simplify complex or boring information, for example through graphs, charts and infographics so that people can absorb it more easily. You can add these to written content or presentations, and include hand-outs at meetings where the key takeaways are distilled visually.
A study by Venngage found that infographics are 40 % more likely to result in more engagement when communicating.
5. Consider innovative ways of communicating visually
There are many different ways to communicate with visual elements, and the rise of digital technology provides more and more ways to be creative in the workplace when communicating with employees.
Visual storytelling shouldn’t just be restricted to emails, newsletters, intranet and corporate social media content. Think outside the square and use digital displays in the workplace – sending graphics and videos to screens that are located throughout your premises. Another way to tell a story visually is to use custom screensavers or corporate wallpapers – catching employees’ attention at their computers while they work.
How DeskAlerts can help you deliver great visual communication
To send visual communications, internal communicators need to use effective delivery channels, and DeskAlerts is a great solution.
- DeskAlerts makes it easy to send a variety of visual content to your employees. You can send video alerts straight to employee desktops and be sure that they’ve seen the content.
- You can also attach graphics and photos to other alert notifications to illustrate the information that you need to share.
- DeskAlerts can also be used to deploy digital signage display material to any screen within your organization, turning them into colorful moving billboards.
- And you can also use DeskAlerts to deliver custom corporate wallpapers and screensavers to your employees with any imagery that you create.