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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

No time or resources? No problem!

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

an hourglass and wrist watch on top of hundred dollar bills

When creating communication, do you feel like there is never “enough” time, money, and personnel? Don’t allow that feeling of “not enough” to become an excuse to be ineffective.

Most of us have probably omitted important steps in the communication design process due to a “lack of resources” and later regretted it. I know I have. I’ve also learned there’s a better way.

5 Smart Shortcuts to Creating Communication

I have compiled 5 smart shortcuts that can streamline the design process without shortchanging the result. These shortcuts were incorporated into Chapter 3 of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide.

Let's be honest, we all too often find ourselves in situations where following "best practices" isn't practical. What can we do to achieve great results with less-than-ideal resources? One or more of these shortcuts could save the day!

Shortcut #1: Just begin!

“Shortcut” the length of time you spend getting started. Procrastination prevents your best work. Getting started early and breaking up the design process into practical and doable chunks gets the job done. Prioritize your project and put each step into your calendar.

Shortcut #2: Collect & Save

Continually collect information that helps you understand your main audiences and keeps you current on the topics you communicate about most often. This "shortcuts” the time needed for audience assessments and content research.

Save resources suitable for future programming using a system that allows you to quickly locate good ideas in your “library” of program materials. Be sure to give credit to the originator of any idea you use.

Shortcut #3: Don’t always say “yes”

A third “shortcut” is to only take on as many projects as you can reasonably accomplish and say “no” to invitations that cannot be completed adequately. If you are able to meet a request by using something that is already created, by you or someone else, that is a practical shortcut that can achieve positive results.

Limit what you communicate to what you are well versed in and refer to others to cover topics for which you have limited background and understanding. No one expects you to be an expert on every food and nutrition topic.

Shortcut #4: Abbreviate, don’t eliminate, your assessment

When time and resources are limited, don’t avoid assessing your audience. Instead, complete an abbreviated version. A few “shortcuts” are better than no assessment:

1) Gain as much information as possible from your primary contact.

2) Survey a small, “convenience” sample.

3) Open up your communication using an approach that assesses your audience – such as a question – and adapt accordingly.

Shortcut #5: Gather Feedback

Don’t “shortcut” or shy away from feedback. Throughout the entire communication design and delivery process ask for it. Near completion, practice or pilot test, even just once, and solicit comments and suggestions. When complete, take the opportunity to gather feedback to make improvements and assess outcomes.

Evaluations can be simple and brief and should never be omitted. If you do miss the opportunity to ask your audience or contact person for feedback, at least record your own impressions of what went well and what could use improvement. Save your thoughts where you can find them the next time you prepare a similar program.

These resources were designed to help

This tip sheet was the first one created. Now there are more than 40 available here. Quick tips can be a lifesaver when resources are limited.

For a more detailed list of steps to designing nutrition communication, download the free PDF: “10 Steps to Compelling Communication” by clicking on the link found on the page dedicated free resources to supplement the book Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide.

Each time you follow the steps in the program design process, the knowledge and experiences gained inform future work and streamline the process for new programs. Effective nutrition communicators are constantly learning and improving.

“Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things”

~Peter Drucker

In the comments, share the shortcut that helps you the most.

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