Brief. How You Communicate

One of the shifts in recent years in marketing and sales communications is a brutal turn towards brevity. Well, brevity and copy minus all the  euphemisms, jargon, cliches, superlatives and spin that marketing folks love.  The latter is very hard to do – try taking all the fluff out of the copy in one of your pieces of collateral, while focusing on clarity and flow.  This is how you communicate effectively:  you have to write like Samuel Beckett.  Or, at least like Ernest Hemingway.

Brief Emails

Your outbound marketing emails should make their point in the first sentence and their call to action by the third.  Strip them of all that marketing mumbo jumbo.   A marketing email that is more than four sentences long and has phrases like: enterprise class, leading edge, best in class, or actionable insight is death, and more soporific than a couple of Ambien washed down with a tumbler of Scotch.

Brief Presentations

When I started working in technology 12 years ago, we would plump for and often get 1.0 – 1.5 hours to make a presentation with dozens of beautiful slides and lots of product detail.  This figure has dropped steadily: you should ask for no more than 30 minutes and should be able to  pitch in 10 minutes if I you have to.  Seriously.

Brief Meetings

Actually, its not so much that these are now brief, it’s more that it has gotten very hard to get in front of folks for a live meeting.  People just don’t have time: if you can get a live meeting, make sure it is focused, organized and has clear goals.

Brief Videos

A client recently created a set of preso/demo videos that were 4.0 minutes long. And they felt long:  much better to keep these below 2.0 minutes.

Brief Collateral

Who actually reads this stuff?  Data sheets seem to be mostly something we have to have available but rarely use.  Make them clean, focused, articulate and, yes, brief.

Brief Blog Posts

Ok, I’m done.

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