ARTICLE: Ensuring your stakeholders 'get it' in under 3 minutes

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

The number, type and variety of stakeholders involved in any one development project can differ substantially. But there are a couple of things that they will always have in common…

One – their importance. Without stakeholders, your project simply can't happen. It won't get funding, it won't get planning, and it won't get 'sold'.

Two – their attention spans. Stakeholders, at the end of the day, are just people… and people are suffering from ever-decreasing attention spans. If your communication is complicated, if it's boring, if it takes 'too long', you're likely to lose their interest. And losing the interest of a stakeholder… given their aforementioned importance… can be the nail in the coffin of your development.

It's said that humans now have, on average, an attention span of just 8 seconds. There's debate on how accurate this is, thankfully – as I like to think the majority of us do, actually, have a longer attention span than a goldfish – however, there's no denying that people's attention spans are considerably shorter than they used to be.

Technology and the internet, and the constant presence of news, information, and other 'stuff' that this brings to our lives nowadays is no doubt the largest reason behind it. However, that which brings it, is also that which presents the best means with which to tackle it…

As technology, combined with a skilled understanding of how to utilise the tools available to us, make this possible. And punchy, exciting, fast-paced films give us the ability to communicate extensive amounts of complex information to our audience in just a matter of minutes.

They enable us to ensure our audience 'get it', and fast.

The attention-span challenge

There is so much more to a development than simply what it looks like. Its context, its finer details, its reality, is the message you need to get across. Which means that details are key to your communications.

Stakeholders vary in their importance and influence, as well as their mode of engagement. However, the most critical stakeholders throughout a development – planning departments, investors, end-users and, of course, your clients – all require a high level of detailed communication in order to get the results and/or answers you need from them.

They will already have a vested interest of some sort, and therefore, thankfully, don't fall into the 'needing to engage within 8 seconds' category. However, time is still a critical factor, and ensuring your audience is not only interested, but that they 'get it' – and quickly – is of utmost importance.

Not always an easy task when the things they need to 'get' are complex and detailed. Yet the sheer volume of information that we are all now exposed to means that you have to stand out from the crowd. And you have to do it quickly. Lose your audience's attention for just a minute, and you may well have lost their interest entirely.

How to communicate development projects thoroughly, yet quickly

When it comes to property developments, details are important. Communicating the complexities of your design is critical to securing the wins over the losses.

Typically, there are a wide-ranging variety of factors that are not only important to communicate to your stakeholders, but are also the factors that will often guarantee a project's success.

The location, the demographics, how the project complements, supports or enhances the existing infrastructure…

… the inclusion and benefits of sustainable features such as PV panels, car charging and rainwater harvesting; the unique design features, and the quality and reasoning of specific materials used; the intelligently-designed use of space, of natural light…

Ensuring your stakeholders not only know about these factors, but that they understand them – understand their value, and the reality of what they mean to them – is not something that can be explained in 8 seconds. It's not even something that can be explained – in the traditional, 'verbal' sense of the word – in just a few minutes.

However, it IS something that can be presented in just a few minutes…

A dynamic, punchy, fast-paced architectural film can visually communicate all of these critical details in an exciting, memorable, inspirational and aspirational format. Combining animation, video, motion graphics, voiceover, interviews, time-lapse, music and more, a film can be storyboarded so as to communicate exactly what you need your stakeholders to understand – the details, the reasons, the 'reality' – in less than 3 minutes.

And better still, it exists as a standalone presentation. It does the most important job – expertly illustrating the benefits of the development – without the developer, architect or agent necessarily even being there to explain around it.

In our modern world, this ability – to present all aspects of your development in an exciting yet sufficiently informative method, without the need for face-to-face meetings – is invaluable. Today, writing as I am during the COVID-lockdown, it is simply indispensable.

An architectural film can tease out these other important messages, can captivate your audience, and can secure you the permissions, investors and buyers that ultimately make your development a success.

And it's a tool that can be used at every stage, and via every medium, of stakeholder communication.

Dynamic, story-based forms of communication make engaging content for social media platforms, mini-presentations, online advertising, etc… but they support longer stakeholder meetings too.

Have you ever noticed that TED Talks are no longer than 18 minutes? It's not a coincidence… it's a result of detailed research analysis on people's attention spans. And the use of videos, demonstrations and 'story-telling' is recommended in order to keep people's attention even during those short 18 minutes.

A TED Talk is of course a very different proposition to a planning pitch, or attracting tenants to a new development, but – the theory still works.

In your longer stakeholder meetings, you still need to keep it short, and you'll still stand to benefit, significantly, from utilising dynamic, punchy, engaging story-based forms of communication to support your message.

Showing a quality video, and telling a story through that medium, allows you to compress what could potentially be hours of complex and tiresome explanations into 2-3 minutes of stimulating, attention-grabbing yet informative content.

Want to see what I mean? Have a look… Prologis_Urban_Bow_Yard_Video


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