When the format is more important than the content of what we are creating, we have started down a path that is hard to recover from.
It’s hard to recover because the writer worries more about the look than the content because that is what they have learned they will be judged on first before anything else.
As the adage goes, Content is the King (and the Queen, and the rook, and the bishop and the knight… only the pawns are the look).
A better way to adopt this problem set, to get people focused on content before looks.
Sit down and break out the sections of the document that will be put together, get agreement on the what before starting to fill the document in.
Next, prepare whoever reading it that the first step is to ensure everyone is on board with the content, the materials, the information, the everything before we start prettying it up.
Third, give your work to someone else to pretty up, a designer, an analyst, a graphics person. Your role is delivery, getting information out to the passes, make it useful and usable.
If you’re not the designer, that’s okay, in fact, that’s great because then you know where your role ends and someone else’s begins.
And that’s where you want to be, focusing on the content and not what variety of formats it needs to be in to satisfy some unknown entity that you’ll never interact with.