Over the weekend I moved my office to another larger space in my home. What I love about “moving” is the purging that goes along with it. Gosh, it felt good to get rid of the stuff that I had been hanging on to and was cluttering up everything.

Today I am starting a fresh week in a clean, organized space. I must say it does a lot for a clearer ‘headspace’ too.

The stuff I was purging were lots of old and outdated printed training material such as handouts and guides. It was a good reminder to update my materials and make them fresh too.

Sometimes we create content and use it over and over again which is smart. I am big on not reinventing the wheel every time. What isn’t smart is to reuse outdated and tired material.

When was the last time you went through your content and had a good hard look at it?

For instance, are you still using old clip art? Are your design elements such as fonts and colour schemes reminiscent of 1998? Do you have pages full of bullet points? Can you include more up-to-date research? Have you used this material over and over again, to the point that your clients could recite it from memory? Is it still as relevant as it was five years ago? If not, then it is time to purge what needs to go and refresh the rest.

Our clients and participants deserve stimulating, exciting and contemporary content and materials to work with…after all, they are hiring us for our expertise and quality service. Maybe it just needs a few tweaks or maybe it needs a complete overhaul but you won’t know if you don’t take the time to assess what you have.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Simplicity – Your design and content do not need to be complicated. Remember, the goal is to support your message – not detract from it.
  • Current – Ditch any research, statistics, or data that is older than 5 years. Things change so fast, we need to stay current on facts and figures.
  • Copyright – This is your intellect property. Always show the copyright.
  • Citations – If you use other’s work always give them the credit and it provides a way for participants to check out the original work.
  • Brand – Include a logo or contact info and use colours and fonts which represent your brand.
  • Consistency – Create a design guide, keeping track of margins, fonts, colours, format, spacing, and graphics to ensure your material is consistent with the look and feel.
  • Relevant for your audience – Audiences change over time and if your material does not reflect those changes, we can begin to look antiquated.
  • Trends – These come and go. What was popular two years ago, does not mean it is popular now.

Schedule some time to purge some of your materials. It helps you and your audience gain the clarity and relevance of your message. It also makes your space clean and organized too!