Thursday 22 February 2018

Brevity is the New Black: A Case for Being Concise

One of the beautiful things about Twitter is that it forces you to be succinct. You have 140 characters to make your point. If your point is not interesting, new, or witty, you are doomed to operate in near complete obscurity. With more than 200 million users sending one billion Tweets every week, you’d think that we’d be good at focusing our message and communicating with style and substance outside of social media. The truth is that most of us are as long-winded as ever. The problem with being long-winded is that you are boring. If you are boring, you are irrelevant. As communicators, and certainly as marketers, we must learn the art of being concise.

Millennials may be the first to understand and communicate with brevity as a standard. A 2010 ComScore study revealed a 27 percent decline in email usage among those 12-34 over the past year. The drop in email doesn’t mean they are communicating less, they are simply communicating differently. The number of text messages sent has tripled in the past three years. The International Telecommunications Union said a whopping 6.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2010 alone. That’s 200,000 text messages every second. A 2011 Mr. Youth study found that 33 percent of college freshman have been dumped via text message. While harsh, I cheer the direct nature of that kind of communication. It beats the novella I received when my high school girlfriend dumped me. Or at least I think that’s what she was trying to say.

We’re often inspired most when somebody takes complex ideas and condenses them to simple insights. Whether it’s a meeting, an email, a call, a speech or a conversation, we all have the opportunity to better make a point. Here’s a list of things you can do to start being more pithy and effective in your communication:

  • Shift from words to images. The days of the ‘white paper’ are over. Who has time to read them? The impact of an infographic or a compelling visual, especially in business, almost always out-duels written words
  • Don’t give a speech, put on a show. When speaking, if less than 90 percent of the room is not looking you in the eye, stop talking. You’ve lost them
  • Keep meetings/calls to an hour or less. Force yourself to make a point or get what you need quickly
  • Celebrate simplicity. Within your team, office, or community, demand and celebrate brevity. Encourage people to communicate using as few words as possible
  • Ditch the jazz hands. Often we try to be too smart. If a 10 year old won’t get it, it’s too complicated

Image credit: bionicteaching

Article source: