140 characters on Twitter … tight space on mobile devices … ten second quotes on TV. Today’s environment demands the quick hit and to-the-point, pithy comments – regardless of the medium. If you’re skilled at the art, you’re in good shape. If you are on the wordy side, take a spot at the back of the line. Your points-of-view will likely get lost in the clutter or edited into oblivion.
Politicians are great at the art, especially during campaigns. President Obama’s slogan, “Change we can believe in” rallied crowds around a platform of hope. President Nixon sought a second term on the simple, “Four more years.” German Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s, party secured another term with a one-word slogan – “middle.” In each of these examples, there was no mistaking the speakers’ intended messages.
Contrast these examples with some political speeches that can run forty minutes or more. State of the Union addresses average close to an hour in length. When the average person will only retain ten-percent of what they hear, there are a lot of words that fall on deaf ears. There are many important ideas that never get heard.
So in short, we must be brief. We must be concise. How?
Determine your desired outcome – what do you want your audiences to know or do with the information you share? Have no more than three key messages on any subject. This is true whether you’re giving a speech, writing an article, or blogging. Edit, edit, edit to cut down your words.
In short, brevity is a necessity and it helps you cut through!