There’s a lot of advice out there on how to work smarter, not harder and they seem to be great ideas. But until workplace nap time becomes mandatory (apparently siestas help you work smarter, not harder), using visual communication can save you and your viewers time.
Getting your message across in a clear, concise way can be difficult with words alone. By incorporating visuals, you can save a lot of back and forth due to confusion. Here are a few ways you can use images and screencasts in your communications to make life easier for you and your audience.
1. Onboard new employees
It’s very time consuming to schedule face to face training sessions every time a new employee joins your organization. It’s also overwhelming to be a new employee with so much to learn right from the start. Make it easier by creating narrated screencasts that show how to use your organization’s standard programs. They will be able to re-watch it when they need a refresher, and you’ll save time by avoiding in-person training sessions. You can even use animated GIFs to help with training!
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So when you see an idea you like, take a screenshot of it! Saving good ideas with screenshots lets you build up a library of inspiration to use the next time you’re stuck for ideas. Similar to mood boards, you’ll have images of examples or ideas you liked, or didn’t like.
3. Skip writing pages of notes
Have you ever had the problem of trying to scribble down pages of notes, only to go back and realize your handwriting has gotten out of control and you can’t read what you wrote? One way to help alleviate this problem is to record the conversation (with permission, of course). At TechSmith, we often interview customers to learn how they use visuals in their jobs, and will record the calls rather than just relying on handwritten notes. Then, we just share a link to the recording with others to listen to when they have time, rather than blocking out calendar time for them to attend the original interview.
4. Give Clear Feedback
Giving and receiving feedback on content or projects can be challenging. You often have to wait (or chase) stakeholders for feedback on projects. And sometimes when they provide their suggestions, it’s paragraphs of text which you’re left to interpret yourself. Using visuals to show your exact feedback can reduce the time spent sending emails back and forth and helps everyone get on the same page. This can make the approval process go much faster.
In the below example, my coworker was able to take a screenshot and point out exactly how to improve this project, without having to write a long email. Her screenshot and comments helped me immediately understand what she wanted me to change. If we would have tried to communicate these changes through text alone, it probably would have taken a few hours of back and forth emails to get to this outcome.
5. Reporting progress
I like graphs. But without context, sometimes they don’t make as much sense as they could. By hitting record and narrating your graphs or even slide presentations, you can help your audience better understand results, data, and the impact they may have on your business. This can be particularly helpful when reporting data to coworkers in different departments who may need a little more explanation or context in order to understand what the numbers mean. Adding images to reports can also help achieve clarity and engagement, instead of only using text. We even have a blog showing results with screencasts to help you get started.
6. Better emails
Emails are a necessary part of many jobs, and pretty crucial communication tools. But what if you could cut down the amount of text, and still convey your point in a way that will grab people’s attention? Adding screenshots to your emails can help you achieve this. They are more engaging to view than blocks of text, and you can draw your reader to your main point with marked up screenshots. Here’s another blog post to help you get started on 3 Ways Screenshots Make Your Microsoft Word Doc, PowerPoint, and Email Better.
Visuals can also add an element of entertainment to your emails. The best part of working better and faster with visuals, is that it’s super easy to do. All you need is a screen capture or screen recording tool, like Snagit. Simply select the area to capture, press the red button, and share. It’s as simple as that. You can try it yourself with a free trial of Snagit.
This article was originally published here.