Ah, the one-page summary! It’s tougher to do than finding an obscure location in a foreign country. More and more clients are requesting this – and in a hurry – even if one has over 35 hours of interviews, 6 targets and several main objectives! Yes, it is challenging to write, even more so when it is expected in a day or two once the fieldwork is complete. As Wikiquote paraphrases Blaise Pascal, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
First, recognize that a good balance between text and graphics will convey information most concisely and then keep the following in mind:
1. State the primary objective in the title box – keep it short and to the point in 30pt font or greater
2. Center Visual and Theme
• Now skim your notes and transcript looking for the key answer to the primary objective. Consider this your theme and build off of it.
• Then, find a visual that highlights the key answer; this can be from the research, or search online for a (legally usable) photo or use your own photo and place it prominently on the page.
• The text box for this visual will need to contain no more characters than a tweet – so think, how would you tweet a rich answer to the primary objective?
3. Sum up Supporting Points
• Now, consider all the areas that have been reviewed during the research. Hopefully, before you started the project, you were able to hone in on no more than 4 or 5 specific areas that needed to be explored.
• Place the answers to key questions in independent text boxes in order of importance to the client. Again, make sure that none of the summary points use more characters than a tweet.
• Consider where a few more pictures would help bring to life these supporting points. Great content and visuals should stir emotions while answering questions.
• Arrange everything on the page in a way that aids comprehension (and looks good).
Last week I was challenged to summarize what makes me stand out from other consultants. I used my 3 steps as you can see from the visual below:
– The primary objective in the title text box
– A key visual and answer to the main objective in the center and
– Supporting points around this with a few more visuals
I recommend you try this exercise of taking your years of experience and putting them into one-page summary! It’s good practice and who knows when it will come in handy.