You wake up one weekday morning and, as you eat breakfast, you notice the local newspaper on the kitchen table. You grab the comics section to pass the time. As you scan the section, you see Garfield, the lasagna-loving cat mistreating his owner:
GARFIELD © 2001 Paws, Inc. Reprinted with permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.
While you don’t have to create an employee communication comic strip (although that would be interesting), there are many aspects of comics that you can use. Consider incorporating these comics characteristics into your next employee communication:
The three-panel comic has to be simple due to the limited amount of space to tell the story. Remember that comic writers only have three panels to set up a premise, advance a plot and land a good joke.
While there are fewer limitations in the employee communication realm, it’s still important to keep your messaging easy for employees to understand. Stick to:
- Eighth-grade reading level
- Conversational language
- Friendly, personable tone
- Simple words vs. complex
- Familiar terms
- Action verbs like “sign up” or “remember”
DILBERT © 2011 Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.
Comics are understandably easy to read, given the limited amount of space.
When you are writing an email or an article, you want to make your content is skimmable, so employees get the information they need to do their job.
One way to accomplish this is by breaking content into “chunks” to make it easier for employees to dive in and remember key points. Try using:
- Bulleted lists
GET FUZZY © 2018 Darby Conley. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.
Words are secondary in a comic strip; they exist simply to complement the action in the pictures.
It’s time to face the fact that visuals dominate external communication. In fact, 95% of marketers believe visual content is critical. On Facebook, for example, posts including photos generate 100% more engagement than the average post.
For internal communication, move from describing (words) to showing (visual). Visuals—photos, video, infographics, etc.—are the communication method that will pack the big punch.
All comics tell a story—that’s the reason for their existence.
When you add a storytelling element to your employee communication, you help employees make a connection with your topic, which can increase engagement. In addition, storytelling can also increase employees’ knowledge of your company.
Here are the five key elements of storytelling that you’ll need to follow:
- Setting – context
- Characters – without characters, there is no story
- Plot – the action
- Narrative arc – takes your plot to the next level
- Theme – the underlying meaning
Once you add these comics traits to your employee communication, you will notice an increase in participation. And as a bonus, you’ll find your inner child and have a great time.