I more or less follow two rules regardless of medium when I consume information:
1) People consume information only if relevant/needed. Indicators of relevance depend on audience and include one or more (if not all) of the following:
- Story/fable approach (“…and that’s why we no longer eat the berries with red dots.” Works great with kids.)
- Authority/intimidation approach (“There will be a quiz tomorrow over your reading assignment.” Works with older kids and students still treated like kids.)
- Meme/rule approach (“cuz evin LOL cats hav rulzs!” The rules for Wile E. & Road Runner are another example. Repetition helps effectiveness.)
- Performance/logical approach (“$__ million is spent every year on ____ with efficiencies less than __% of possible. Works for college students and business minded folks.)
- Communal/humanitarian approach (“We’re borrowing from the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.” Basically for things that are difficult to quantify such as ecosystem harm, happiness, etc. WordPress is another example. Works for community minded individuals.)
- System approach (If done carefully, integrates all of the above and appeals to most.)
2) People continue to consume information only if credible/trustworthy. Indicators of credibility again depend on audience. Extending from the numbers above:
- Story/fable approach for kids is most credible from family member, friend, or someone family or friend trusts.
- Authority/intimidation is most credible from someone known to have the power to deliver on the promise.
- Meme/rule approach is most credible from organizations/individuals/deities with delegated responsibility to set rules.
- Performance/logical approach is most credible when specific (quantified and testable), efficient (omits useless words and does not obfuscate (use complex words when a simple word suffices), contextual (gives us the info we need, when we need it), and confident (avoids passivity and has a polished delivery).
- Communal/humanitarian approach is most credible when sincere time is allocated from a group with the foundation/experience necessary to make it happen.
- System level approach is most credible when all of the above are incorporated in appropriate balance.
To master these and appeal to our complex system you must understand both your audiences and what you are saying, which only comes with practice.