Messaging Sales & Marketing

Interpretation is an Artform

Messaging is ‘simply’ story-telling.

We say ‘simply’ in air-quotes because it’s anything but simple. It’s indeed an Artform.

Whether it’s cave wall pictographs, passing down lore around the campfire, preaching the Good News, elevating your elevator pitch, or interpreting an art piece or a Civil-War battlefield; all effective communications distill down to these two core elements: 

Understanding the resource or product and the audience, and knowing how to connect the two are the primary skills one needs to properly interpret anything to another. Without one, the others are lost to visitors who’ll never become your audience, and deeper connections will not form between the newly gained audience and your product or resource, defeating the whole purpose of messaging in the first place.

Let’s break this down using the master lens of Parks Interpretative Specialists as taught by the National Parks Service.

A.R.T. is a new meaning to the skills needed to be a great connector between converting a general audience (aka vertical market) into potential customers and your product or resource.

To be a good messenger, one must have:

  • (A) knowledge of the audience,

  • (R) knowledge of the resource or product, and

  • (T) use of appropriate interpretation techniques. With all three skills, interpreters can share their knowledge with visitors effectively.

Interpreters must first understand what they are interpreting. They need to know the history behind the resource, its uses, and stories specific to that location. The National Park Service (NPS) writes in its interpretation curriculum that “interpreters must identify and be fully aware of the many different intangible and universal meanings the resources represent to various audiences …

(A)udience – In addition to understanding the resource, an interpreter must have full knowledge of the intended audience. Because visitor demographics are diverse, interpreters must cater their presentations to a wide audience.

Freeman Tilden, a renowned individual in the realm of natural-resource interpretation, states in his work, Interpreting our Heritage, that “the visitor is unlikely to respond unless what [the interpreter has] to tell, or to show, touches his personal experience, thoughts, hopes, way of life, social position, or whatever else”

(R)esource – To unify the interpreter’s knowledge of the resource and audience in question, appropriate interpretive techniques must be used in the presentation. These include an understanding of learning styles and well-developed communication skills.

In their article, “Natural Resource Interpretation and Conservation Education in a Global Society,” Jayne and Daniel Tardona state:

“Each person belongs to a group or … groups which are distinct in terms of gender roles, family identity, time orientation, sense of community, age … importance of tradition, spirituality and religion, or subservience to convention or authority. All of these things ultimately will have some effect upon how a person learns and what type of presentation method will reach her and him at any given time”

(T)echniques – Good National Park interpretative communicators use verbal and non-verbal methods, including eye contact, tone of voice, and confidence, to relate to their audience effectively. 

Today’s communicators have added tools – and challenges – associated with all-things digital, web, and mobile mediums. 

Contact S3 Solutions today and together we’ll help you present the best messaging for your organization’s most valuable message.