Make it real

We are not very good at dealing with abstract ideas. So if your message contains ideas that are hard to grasp, here’s how to make them feel more real.

You need: 30-40 minutes, pen and paper, LEGO, modelling clay or anything else that’s easy to shape.

Ask yourself how you might…

  • Prototype: make something, however crude, that shows your project in action. This can be LEGO, clay, tinfoil, origami, action figures – whatever takes your fancy. The quality of the prototype doesn’t matter as much as the way it helps your idea seem more real.
  • Substitute: use as a physical “stand-in” to represent an intangible idea. For example, if you want new training programmes at work, give your audience unfamiliar DIY tools and ask “When I give you a new tool for doing your job, what does it feel like? How long would it take to become adept at using it?” You are introducing the metaphor of training-as-tool, and reinforcing it with physical sensation.
  • Role play: act out a conversation or scenario about your project. Again, the quality of the acting doesn’t matter as much as the fact that any scenario you play out makes your idea feel more real. Plus with role play, you can involve your audience directly.
  • Road-test your idea and show the results. Can you use video or photographs to show how real people (potential clients, customers or audience) react to your idea?

Download this worksheet