Text Is Dead: Images in Email vs. Text
No, I don’t mean every email you send has to be pure Emojii’s. Sometimes text is required to give context or extra meaning to your visuals (source: this sentence). That being said, often you can convey your meaning more efficiently with a smart visual than you could with the written word alone.
The truth is that humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish, and that isn’t going to be changing anytime soon. The average American worker is trying to be more effective and articulate, while managing a much bigger workload than we’ve ever seen in history.
We’re being pushed by necessity to make shorter and clearer emails that don’t waste the readers time and get straight to the point. We simply don’t have the time to waste—we must find the most efficient and effective form to communicate. Either writing emails or reading them; no one can digest an entire novella with every email.
Reduce the size and wordiness of an email using a simple photo or screenshot. They can be used to illustrate a point, a workflow, or even directions. Boil down your emails to the essentials and use visuals to get those messages across.
The Big GIF
GIF’s are often disregarded and brushed off as jokes, but it’s time we take a look at the real value a GIF can bring to a conversation. They can show functional and digestible information, or they can show your cat doing a crazy jump over and over again to prove your cat is the best cat. You GIF however you want. As effective users of GIFs already know — humor and articulation do not have to be mutually exclusive.
GIFs are quickly becoming a mainstay in the way millennials communicate with each other. This new generation grew up completely in the internet’s shadow, and they do not disseminate information in the same way as older Americans. More than one-in-three American workers today are millennials. That percentage is only going to increase more and more as Millennials naturally become a larger percentage of the workforce over the years.
Still not convinced GIF’s are a thing? Giphy, a living database of approximately one kabillion memes, has an active user base of up to 82 million every month. That’s more than the size of the entire UK, or around double the population of California. Giphy is a database only—those numbers don’t consider all the other homemade memes flying around the internet.
While GIF’s can be silly and fun, it is definitely a form of communication that can save you a lot of time. To land a killer joke or to prove a point, a GIF is an efficient way to express yourself.
I Dream of Electric Meme
GIFs are effective, videos are great, but memes can do a man some good. While sometimes used to declare your love of cats, other times they can be utilized to affirm and support a coworker. As our work and social patterns converge, meme’s can be found for any occasion:
Consider this email chain where we discuss our excitement about an upcoming Game of Thrones episode via cat meme only:
Sure, we could have met at the office water cooler and shouted “Winter is coming!” at each other for thirty minutes each morning, but memes allow us to stay on task and work with the occasional micro-exchange of fandom.
While the silliness reaches prepawsterous levels, believe it or not – that is real conversation.
I concede it’s not a particularly deep one, but that’s the beauty of the meme; convey a simple message as easily as possible.
How Screen Capture Can Make Your Life Easier
With a screen capture tool like Snagit, you are able to communicate more clearly than with text alone by using the screen capture and screen recording functionality. You can show someone exactly what you want them to know, rather than relying solely on words. You can even take your screen capture a step further and incorporate a human element with webcam capture, which can be helpful when you are using screencasting to build and strengthen relationships.
Here are 9 ways screen capture can make your life easier.
1. Report an error message to IT and show them exactly what type of problem you’re having.
2. Save important things you might like to refer back to later.
3. Provide feedback to a colleague.
4. Send a personalized video to a customer to touch base about an existing account.
5. Support your customers with clear instructions that explain how to complete a task.
6. Share a brief portion of a video.
You can view full video, My Favorite Outlook Calendar Tips and Tricks, on YouTube.
7. Make a meme for use in an email, or for your company’s social media channels.
8. Explain a document to a client.
9. Create an on-demand presentation by recording PowerPoint slides.
3 Ways Screenshots make your Microsoft Word Doc, PowerPoint, and Email Better
Now that you know several ways you can use screenshots to make your life easier, here are few ways to make your documents even better:
1. Use Fewer Words in Word Documents
Including step-by-step instructions complete with screenshots in your procedural or technical documentation can make a big difference. It breaks up the text, and can make your message even clearer by also showing what you’re trying to say.
2. Add Personality to PowerPoint Presentations
People often dread viewing PowerPoint Presentations. There’s nothing more boring than slides of words being read out loud.
Add visuals to your slides, like screenshots of data dashboards with arrows to call attention exactly where you want their focus.
You can also include an animated GIF to add a touch of humor!
3. Add Excitement to Emails!
You can’t stop the emails, so why not at least try to make them more enjoyable?
When sharing industry news or articles, include a preview of what people are about to open or click on!
Another example of how you can use screenshots in email is a new hire message. Include a map of where they sit, as well as a picture so people can say hi when they see them:
These are just a few of our favorite uses for screenshots in documents, presentations, and emails. What are your favorite ways to use screen captures? Let us know on the socials!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.