1. Identify the topic
Do this as clearly as possible, focusing on defining what you mean and what you don't mean.
2. Identify who the communication is from and who it is for
Usually from your organisation, and for your patients.
Distinguish between how the organisation and the patients think and speak about the topic. Focus on the patients' point of view including:
- Things they might understand already, and the ways they typically talk about them
- Things they can agree with easily
- Questions they might ask
- Things they might by confused by and/or disagree with.
3. Explore similes and metaphors for communicating the topic
For example, patients often say their journey is "like a roller coaster" (a simile) or a staff member "has become a rock" (a metaphor).
Select a few options you think will work well in communicating the topic. Note that you may need to balance accuracy (in relation to service processes or clinical diagnoses) with the views, existing knowledge and needs of your audience.
4. Sketch out drafts of your ideas
Keep your sketches rough. This encourages people to engage with them and comment on them, and to try drawing ideas themselves. Ignore criticisms about the roughness of the drawing - it's not the point.
5. Use the following test to see how easy the sketches are to understand
- Show the drawing to a patient
- Ask them to explain in their own words what it is telling them
- Explain what you meant
- Discuss ways to improve the sketch so it communicates effectively and efficiently.
6. Select a draft
- Select the version and specific elements that communicate best and document these.
- Develop a 'good' draft
- Trial your draft in a real setting such as a clinic or ward.
7. Decide on the final version and use as appropriate
You can ask a graphic designer or illustrator to help you complete the final version so you have a professional looking piece of work.