Step 6: Provide a Take-Home Message
You can present an excellent analysis of an important topic, but unless you help the reader know what to do with the information, it will be forgotten before you know it.
The final step in a good communication project is to provide a memorable take-home message.
Here are the steps for providing an effective take-home message:
- State the conclusion: Briefly summarize your key findings and state your conclusion. This should be just one or two points that people can easily digest and remember. Make sure that your conclusion is fully supported by your data and is not an exaggeration.
- Provide possible recommendations based on your findings: What should be done given the findings? Does the subject need further study? Does your agency need to implement a new program or policy? Make sure that your recommendations follow naturally from the findings of your document; this is not the time to wax eloquent on your ideas for the improvement of other systems outside your research area. Also, make sure that you remain as unbiased as possible in your recommendations; your audience may be put off if you argue for your "one favorite solution" without proper consideration of the alternatives. Remember, you are there to inform, suggest, and work with others to decide the next step.
- Suggest an action, if appropriate: Having an action is a powerful way to end any communication; it helps solidify your message in the reader’s mind and encourages them to implement your message in their own sphere. Action is the holy grail of communication – it is every advertiser’s dream. In many cases, it may not be appropriate for you to suggest one action too strongly (for some of the reasons under #2). However, there are many times when you will want to.
Including an action is one of the best ways to make your communication message memorable and effective to your audience. For instance, you can suggest the reader go to the website to learn more, remember a certain rule when performing a medical procedure, support your program, talk to friends and family about your message, do one simple thing to keep their home safer, etc. You want to find the “obvious” actions you can suggest that will not be a question of debate or strategy among your leaders or peers.
There we have it!
You have gone through all the steps of communicating your data effectively. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you would like personalized technical assistance on a communication project you are working on. Just remember to always communicate clearly and often with those around you. Hopefully, you’ve learned a few tips to make your communications go more smoothly the next time!