How to make people understand (with 5 hand-drawn examples)
Avoid information overload: a wine suggestion instead of the wine list
A protagonist outside the cinema (part 1 of 2)
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You work with complex, technical, or abstract content. You share your work with others, in presentations, visuals, or text. How do you make a story that your audience can understand and appreciate? We often hear about these challenges:
Your audience does not understand you
You want to share your insights with your audience. But it can be difficult to give your story a clear structure. Things quickly become too detailed, and your audience gets lost. But if you simplify your story, the content is no longer accurate and you deviate from your message. How do you combine clarity with depth and substance?
Your audience takes no action
You want your audience to act. You want them, for example, to fund your project, to collaborate with you, or to execute your proposal. It’s frustrating if that does not happen. You fail to reach your own and your organization’s goals, miss funding, or invest time in vain. To activate your audience, your story must be relevant to them. But how to convince them of this?
Your audience loses interest
Your work is full of technical or abstract information. Perhaps you work in an interdisciplinary project. You do your best to clarify why your contribution is important or interesting. You are enthusiastic, but your audience seems indifferent. You can’t manage to turn your work into a captivating story. How to make sure that your audience feels engaged and gains interest?
You can't get it on paper
In the end, you want to turn your story into a product: an infographic, article, proposal, movie, report, presentation, etc. This can be a great struggle. You don’t know how to start, can’t find a striking image that fits your message, or you end up in a maze of main points and sideshows that are hard to separate. How do you deliver a convincing end result more quickly and easily?
made their story with us
Many happy clients
got their content-driven strategy, funding, report, cooperation, proposal, animation...
learned our method
A sample of our solutions
Every content-driven story is unique. You need to be able to give your clear and compelling message to your audience. All our solutions are therefore tailor-made. These projects give an impression of the diversity of our work:
The Red Cross got an infographic on the state of international humanitarian lawEven a war has rules. International humanitarian law (IHL) provides these rules. The Red Cross is an important advocate of IHL. IHL protects civilians, prisoners of war and aid workers from attack by the warring parties. But IHL is under constant pressure: aid workers are denied access to the warzone or even killed. We made an infographic that shows what IHL is and what challenges it faces. See it here.
Infographic on complex and little-known topic
ZonMw invited youth professionals, researchers, education providers and municipalities to cooperateZonMw funds health research in the Netherlands and promotes the use of the produced knowledge. This requires cooperation with the whole health field. Therefore, we made an annual report for ZonMw's Youth programme that primarily looks ahead. The visual, interactive web app invites youth professionals, researchers, educators and municipalities to cooperate: apply for a grant, download guidelines, participate in a masterclass or join a learning network. See the impression 2018 | 2019 here (in Dutch).
Visual, interactive web app that invites to cooperate
1,000+ knowledge workers learned to apply our Analytic Storytelling method to their workEvery we year we provide dozens of customized training sessions and workshops on our Analytic Storytelling method. Participants directly apply the method to a case from their work. For example:
- scientists who write or tell about their research;
- policy advisers who write proposals for their director;
- data professionals who want to bring their analyses to live;
- NGO's that make infographics for their followers.
99% of our participants recommend the training they participated in to their colleagues
The Dutch government got support for an improvement to a treaty to reduce air pollutionThe Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment wanted to change an international treaty to reduce air pollution by inland cargo ships. Engineering consultancy RoyalHaskoningDHV supported the ministry by performing environmental impact analyses. We made a proposal that combined policy and technology to make it suitable for both the technical experts of the treaty as well as European policy makers that were unfamiliar with the topic. The proposal was adopted.
Adopted proposal that combined policy and technology
The executive board of Stedin was able to take a clear decision on grid managementStedin is a Dutch grid operator for electricity and natural gas grids. Every year, Stedin invests hundreds of millions of euros to place and maintain the cables, pipes, relay stations and meters that supply energy to homes, businesses and industry. The executive board decides on the priority of all projects. They do so based on dozens of detailed scenarios, models and legal acts. We made an accessible visual dashboard from this information, that allowed the board to take an efficient and well-informed decision.
A visual decision support for the executive board
9 Dutch municipalities made a joint plan for youth careMunicipalities organize youth care for their young inhabitants with problems. The 9 municipalities of the Dutch region West-Brabant West work together to do so. They required a joint plan to reach their goals. We structured the plans into a clear and easy to navigate policy proposal. The proposal was enriched with illustrations, animations and quotes of the parties involved. All 9 municipal councils approved the plan. Find the plan (in Dutch) here.
A policy proposal that is easy to navigate
Researchers received funding for their work through a clear and convincing proposalResearchers regularly apply for funding of their new research plans. We help them to show their topic and approach in a clear and convincing story. We do so at universities, universities of applied sciences and other knowledge-driven institutes. In our approach we include wishes and demands of the funders and reviewers.
Clear and convincing research proposals
The Dutch Language Union received government financing for a new organizational policyThe funders of the Dutch Language Union asked the Union to formulate a new organizational vision and policy, fitting modern trends such as globalization, digitization and economization. Working with the management team, we made a policy plan on different levels: vision, policy targets and organizational changes. We used examples to make the different levels concrete. This new plan convinced the responsible ministers to award new funding.
New vision and policy plan approved by ministers
Project managers of the ITC developed a clear and effective way of cooperatingThe ITC is an organization for research, education and services in geo-informatics and earth observation. Their stakeholders come from government, science and business and they come from all continents. Together with their project managers we analyzed their projects to find the cooperation and communication required. This resulted in concrete ideas for a new approach for designing and executing projects.
A new approach for project communication in a multidisciplinary team
The Analytic Storytelling method
Our stepwise Analytic Storytelling method guides you from start to finish in communicating complex content. It combines techniques from the analytic and creative world to tell a clear and compelling story.
#1: Adapt to your audience
Before communicating your work, first think about your intended audience: what are their interests, how can you bring them on board, and what do they know about your topic? This step offers a model to sharply define your audience.
Want to know more? In our knowledge base you can find articles about #1.
#2: Build a structure
A sound structure is crucial to conveying your message. In this step, you learn how to build a storyline that is both clear and urgent for your audience. This way they can follow your story top to bottom and feel involved with the topic.
Want to know more? In our knowledge base you can find articles about #2.
#3: Be concrete
By being concrete, your story becomes tangible. Your audience will understand it better and feel its relevance. In this step you make abstract content tangible and engaging. Many of the techniques involved come from the creative world.
Want to know more? In our knowledge base you can find articles about #3.
#4: Make your visuals & text
The first three steps lay the groundwork for any form of communication. The result is a well-adapted, clear and concrete storyline. Now you can turn this into a text and/or visualizations. The last step offers various tools to do this.
Want to know more? In our knowledge base you can find articles about #4.
All our people are both sharp analytic thinkers as well as strong storytellers, and able to combine these two elements. Each of them does so from his or her own background and expertise.
Who we work for
Complex topics are everywhere. Our clients are thus diverse. Some of the organizations that we helped with their content-driven stories:
Do you want to build a convincing story, or do you want to learn how to use Analytic Storytelling in your work? Share your question with us!
Laan van Chartroise 170
3552 EZ Utrecht, The Netherlands
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