A recipe for layer cake

Recently, my children and I embarked on an ambitious baking project.

Baking spekkoek.

Spekkoek is an Indonesian layer cake with spices. It has thin layers of two colors, usually yellow and brown, or green and brown.

Baking spekkoek takes a lot of time, because you have to build it up, layer by layer.

But it’s worth the effort.

In communication, ‘spekkoek’ can be good too. I took the metaphor from my colleague Marieke.

So what is spekkoek communication?

It means that you build your story in distinct layers.

When you tell your story, you alternate between these layers. For instance, between:

  • Theory and a concrete example
  • How things are now, and how things could be
  • Data and enticing anecdotes
  • Text and images
  • Information for scientists and information for policy makers

When you move from one layer to another, ‘hard transitions’ work best – don’t use too many linking sentences. That way, you add contrast and variety. And your audience pays more attention.