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Cutting Through the Clutter: Successful Messaging in an Age of Information Overload


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Are you overloaded by too much information from more sources via more media than you could ever sort through? Do you find it impossible to sift through every message to uncover what’s truly critical?

Learn how to manage information overload – before it manages you.

Don’t let your incident notifications get lost in the clutter. Attend this webinar featuring crisis communications expert, Dr. Robert Chandler, to find out how to deliver critical messages that won’t get drowned out.

The author of the book Emergency Notification, Dr. Chandler will discuss best practices to get your audience’s attention and focus. Discover proven ways to increase message attention, comprehension, and behavioral response.

What you will learn:

-What factors “drown out” critical messages
-How to create effective message structure and content
-How to overcome message fatigue

Published in: Business, Education, Technology
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Cutting Through the Clutter: Successful Messaging in an Age of Information Overload

  1. 1. Cutting Through the Clutter: Successful Messaging in an Age of Information Overload Dr. Robert Chandler, Ph.D.Director of the Nicholson School, University of Central Florida Marc Ladin Chief Marketing Officer, Everbridge
  2. 2. About Everbridge• Everbridge empowers better decisions with interactive communications throughout the incident lifecycle to protect your most important assets• Recognized in the 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant on Emergency / Mass Notification as a Leader in the industry• Everbridge helps more than 30 million people communicate in a crisis and connect on a daily basis.• The company’s notification platform is backed by an elastic infrastructure model that delivers near infinite scale, advanced mobile connectivity, and real-time reporting and analytics.• More than 1,000 organizations in over 100 countries rely on Everbridge for their emergency needs 2
  3. 3. AgendaAgendaPart 1: Presentation• What factors “drown out” critical messages• How to create effective message structure and content• How to overcome message fatiguePart 2: Q&AAre you on Twitter? Follow us at @everbridge andtweet insights with your friends during the webinarusing the hashtag #everbridge 3
  4. 4. Bracing for the 2010 the Clutter Cutting ThroughHurricane Season Successful Messaging in an Age of Information Overload Dr. Robert Chandler University of Central Florida
  5. 5. Miscommunication at work (2 March 2012) New York, NY [USA] A well-intentioned Southwest Airlines pilot made an announcement wishing an air traffic controllers mom (who was a passenger aboard the flight) a happy birthday. Unfortunately, edgy passengers misheard "mom on board" as "bomb on board," causing panic. A Southwest spokesperson told WCBS 880 that the pilot clarified his announcement, but the passengers were not placated, and two of them complained to security officials after landing. 5
  6. 6. "Information overload"• Term popularized by Alvin Toffler• Refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information• First mentioned in a 1964 book by Bertram Gross, The Managing of Organizations 6
  7. 7. "Information overload"• Tofflers explanation of it presents information overload as the Information Ages version of sensory overload, a term that had been introduced in the 1950s• "Information overload" and concept precede the Internet and can be viewed from an information sciences perspective or viewed as a psychology phenomenon 7
  8. 8. Age of spam• Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you are able to process to make sensible decisions• It is now commonplace to be getting too many e-mails, reports and incoming messages to deal with them effectively. 8
  9. 9. Age of spam• Vital information – during critical incidents may simply become lost in the tsunami of information – filtered out, ignored, or just adding to the sheer volume of information noise that prevents effective decision making at peak periods 9
  10. 10. Age of spam• The root of the problem is that, although information input, various communication modalities, interconnection to data sources, computer processing and memory is increasing all the time, the humans that must use all of this information are not getting any faster 10
  11. 11. How to better process information • Human brains are still learning to deal with the juxtaposition of millions of years of sensory input vs thousands of years of reading/writing vs. recent high speed electronic information flow • How do we counteract this learning curve? • Spending less time on gaining information that is nice to know and more time on things that we need to know now. • Focusing on quality of information, rather than quantity. • Learning how to create better information. • Single-tasking, and keeping the mind focused on one issue at a time. • Spending time disconnected from interruptions (e.g. switch off e-mail, telephones, Web, etc.) so you can fully concentrate for a significant period of time on using the information you have to make a quality decision. 11
  12. 12. How information is processed during a crisisDetermine what you shouldcommunicate by assessing how peopleunderstand, interpret, and act onmessages. 12
  13. 13. Factors affecting information processing • Cognitive processing capabilities • Perceived risk • Information loading theory • Attitude-behavioral consistency theory • Balance theory • Uncertainty reduction theory • Situation awareness • Selective attention • Reaction time • Semantic memory 13
  14. 14. Diminished Cognitive CapacitiesDuring emergencies anddisasters, decisions musttypically be madeunexpectedly with littleadvance notice, highstress/distress context,little time for thoroughdeliberation, and oftenwith high (life and death)negative consequencerisks
  15. 15. Cognitive-Cognitive-processing capabilities• Cognitive processing involves thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining, or learning• Cognitive abilities typically decrease as stress increases• People possess different cognitive abilities and limitations, which in turn affects decision-making capabilities in a crisis 15
  16. 16. Selective attention • Limits what people notice and remember during a crisis • Conscious vs. unconscious 16
  17. 17. Reaction timeFactors that affect reaction time include: • Recognition, choice, number of stimuli, fatigue, reasoning, remembering, imagining, or learning 17
  18. 18. Semantic memory• Concept-based knowledge unrelated to specific experiences, e.g. learning ABCs• Semantic memory is memory of words, facts, and ideas• People’s semantic memories are usually assumed to be similar (in contrast to episodic memory) 18
  19. 19. Communication Processing Impairment Low Stress High Stress Info processed at Recipients Recipients Info processed at -4 grade process average process average average grade (average) levels of 7 messages of 3 messages level (about 10th from low stress per Grade in general per (about 6th grade communication population) communication in general episode episode population) Cognitive Abilities Normal<-------------------- Diminished Routine misinterpretation Increased Confused Routine misunderstandings Inability to focus Assumptions Easily distracted Sequential Errors Increased Misinterpretation Increased Misunderstandings Unable to complete complex critical thinking Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. © 2010
  20. 20. Communication patterns• Rules and norms • Asynchronous and• Interruptions synchronous • 47% of communication • Information seeking events classified as • Active to passive interruptions • Message variables• Simultaneous • Grammar communication • Syntax interaction 20
  21. 21. Preventing miscommunication • Honesty is the best policy. • Honest and frank disclosure of risk allows constituents to make informed decisions to protect themselves. • Transparency can help eliminate panic. • Messages must be consistent and coordinated. • Coordinating messages and the release of information can help slow the emergence of contradictions, inconsistencies, and confusion. 21
  22. 22. Communicating in high-stress high-emergency situationsTruth #1: Stress negatively affects cognitive process• Information–loading reductions (lower cognitive limits on how much or how many things we can think about)• Attitude–behavioral consistency interaction and uncertainty anxiety effects Use optimal Loading Use optimal redundancy More than information – your communication should address uncertainty-anxietyA poorly constructed message can contribute to misunderstanding,unrealistic expectations, and/or confusion Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. © 2010
  23. 23. Communicating in high-stress high-emergency situationsTruth #2: Stress negatively affects comprehension Simplifythe message (lower reading level) Reduce number of message points to maximum of 3 points Use short sentences Use numbers carefully Use pictures or graphics Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. © 2010
  24. 24. Communicating in high-stress high-emergency situationsTruth #3: Selective attention (including attentionblindness/deafness); reaction time changes (in most casesthese changes result in slowed reaction times) will changethe way that your audience receives, perceives, and thinksabout the message. Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. © 2010
  25. 25. Communicating in high-stress high-emergency situationsTruth #4: You can’t forget varied demographics Customize the message – based on geographic location, languages and economic resources Messages should be written in the recipients first language (L1) Messages must be coordinated and consistent across all levels Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. © 2010
  26. 26. Incident NotificationMarc LadinChief Marketing Officer, Everbridge 26
  27. 27. Incident Notification Solutions AddressCommon Communication Challenges • Reduce miscommunications • Communicate quickly, easily, and control rumors with and efficiently with large accurate, consistent messages numbers of people in minutes, not hours, making sure that the • Satisfy regulatory lines of communication are open requirements with extensive and complete reporting of • Receive feedback from your communication attempts and messages by using polling two-way acknowledgements from capabilities recipients • Ensure two-way • Deliver refined, prepared , communications to get timed messages to each pre- feedback from message designated audience group, by receivers scenario 27
  28. 28. Everbridge AdvantagesExisting Notification Vendor’sInfrastructure: • Static algorithms based on capacity limitations, not actual call volumes during a disaster - Failure-prone from unexpected volumes of message output - No ability to burst to meet wide-scale system usageThe Everbridge Advantage: • Near-infinite scale achieved - Multiple redundant VoiP & PSTN providers - Elastic capacity accommodates highest volume of outbound calls in the industry
  29. 29. Everbridge’s Elastic Infrastructure Model • What is it? • Elastic infrastructure integrates with multiple, redundant on- demand communications providers • Provides near infinite scale, capacity, performance and processing resources • Dynamically looking into performance and proactively enhance the performance of notifications delivered • Provable, measurable performance through Everbridge’s mass recipient emulator
  30. 30. Advanced Connectivity for a Mobile World• Communicate from anywhere, • Support for popular mobile under any circumstances or platforms (Apple iOS, Android, & conditions BlackBerry)• Low-bandwidth optimized to ensure delivery in adverse conditions 30
  31. 31. Contact Information The third annual International CrisisThank you for joining us today! and Risk Communication Conference is being hosted by the Nicholson School of Communication at UCF on March 4- 6, 2013. Plan now to attend thisDr. Robert Chandler exceptional event. For more information please Everbridge Resources On-Demand Webinars: White papers, case studies and moreReminder Insights webinarsqualify for Continuing EducationActivity Points (CEAPs) for DRII Follow us:certifications. Visit www.drii.orgto register your credit. @everbridgeItem Number (Schedule II): 26.3Activity Group: A Point for each webinar