To say that communication is essential is an understatement for associations. Two years ago, when the unexpected pandemic hit us, the world as we knew it went digital overnight. This meant that all the brainstorming meetings and detailed explanations to designers or writers were now being conducted over long emails, chat messages, or video calls, which can get very confusing. Association leaders had to find a new way to conduct daily meetings over the internet, which otherwise happened face to face, leading to confusion and even frustration.
A new kind of chaos erupted. The search began for a better way to conduct board meetings, avoid confusion, and achieve the association’s goals. The value of the wireframe approach to communications became more apparent. A wireframe is considered the skeleton of your final design. It is a visual representation of the final product, communication, or design.
Wireframes act as an effective bridge between content planning and content execution. A wireframe documents all elements of a project, including what text, layout, and size would be needed. These wireframes can be made using specialized software or just a pen and paper. This takes us to Step 1 – The Skeleton.
Before beginning writing the content, you want to plan the writing. This could be for a blog, an article, design, brochure or even something as simple as an instruction guide. The aim of wireframing is to help you structure your communication.
All this sounds great in theory, but how do you practice it in reality? Take a blank paper or an empty notebook page and start by writing down the headings. Let’s simplify it further; take this article as an example. Before writing the content down, I made a skeleton layout that included basic specifications such as the introduction, headings, and steps to write this content.
The next step included sub-points. For example, what to include in the introduction, the opening paragraph, the middle, and the end. This takes us to Step 2 – The Brain Dump.
The Brain Dump
Once your skeleton is complete, the next step is the brain dump. This is where you dump your thoughts on the document. You write and let the words flow out of your brain. Wait! Why do I need a wireframe or a skeleton if I brain dump?
We need a wireframe or skeleton to ensure that our brain is still on a path we have carved when we brain dump. We don’t want to beat around the bush or be unclear about what we want to convey. Step 3 becomes easier to tackle with this process and brings us closer to our destination.
Edit and Release
You have a skeleton or your wireframe from step 1, filling it out with muscle and veins in step 2. In step 3, you give it skin. Edit, edit, and edit until you’ve addressed all issues and had another pair of eyes review it. How is a wireframe helpful in this stage?
The wireframe or skeleton helps your content stay in shape. Like how our skin is attached to our skeleton, a good wireframe will keep your content attached to its body. The errors will be limited to grammar and consistency. But your content would be to the point, engaging, and direct.
By focusing on these tactics, any form of communication as an association leader would make your work more straightforward, impactful, and engaging. You would captivate your audiences every time, be it on social media, emails to members, or your speech and national conference. The more structure you have in your communications, the better the productivity and results of an association leader.
For more on communications for associations, read my colleague’s article, The Association’s Need for Communicative Media.