Effective Communication and the Nurtured Entrepreneur
Dear Nurtured Entrepreneur,
You’re about to create a scathingly brilliant e-report (or web class, live seminar, event flyer, etc.) based on one of your areas of expertise as a mindful entrepreneur.
- What do you want to teach or communicate?
- What is your purpose or intention in doing so?
- Will it meet the needs of your eager clients?
- How will you know if you’re successful?
Enter the domain of the instructional designer.
What does an instructional designer bring to the table that can serve the small business entrepreneur? This is the question I had to answer for myself when I transitioned from serving corporate clients to serving, with joy, the community of mindful entrepreneurs. My favorite analogy to help others understand the role of the instructional designer is building a house … with no architect.
Let’s say you want a custom-built home.
You’ve gathered pictures of houses and house features you like and you’ve thought about what you don’t like. You believe you have a fairly clear idea of what you want: square footage requirements, number of bedrooms and baths, attached garage, screened porch, and so on. You want to be sure it meets the needs of you and your family. On this, you are the expert.
You describe this dream house to a builder and authorize the builder to order materials and start building. “Call me if you have questions,” you say as you bid the builder farewell.
Whoa! What about the architect?
Where’s the blueprint?
The architect is the bridge between the home owner and the builder, the bridge between your vision and the finished product. The architect collaborates with you to define and fine-tune your wish list, explain the options to you, help you weigh advantages and disadvantages, and translate your vision into a documented plan. When designing a product (or re-vamping one) for your clients, the instructional designer is your architect and bridge.
Can a house be built without a blueprint?
Builders once had that skill; some still do today. And some home owners are themselves architects by profession. The same is true in the world of information and instructional “architects,” some entrepreneurs have the skills to be their own designer. But what I’ve come across in my business most often are these two scenarios:
(1) what they know still leaves room for meaningful improvement and I’ve had them tell me this after I’ve evaluated their products and given them an assessment of recommended changes and enhancements, or
(2) they are working on their project with a graphic artist or a web master who does not have the skill set, but tries to wear the architect/designer hat. Essential elements are invariably omitted and the client’s vision is not adequately communicated.
In designing products or marketing materials for your business, my role is twofold:
- to help you define, document, and bring your vision to life from the user’s point of view, while also
- making sure it is imbued with your energetic essence so that your potential clients can find you because they resonate with what you have to offer and how you offer it.
By using principles of effective design, life coaching, and a mixed-media artist’s eye, my goal is to connect you with your audience in a way that they can hear, comprehend, and use what you have to offer. And it can be so helpful to have an outside set of eyes and a savvy, knowledgeable collaborator to assist with these activities.
In a future instructional design tips blog, I will present the four key categories of the instructional design process and give you a sampling of the types of questions I typically ask my clients as we begin the building process.
Until next time …
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