Do you have a favourite quote? A favourite song lyric? A favourite movie line?
What about a favourite brand tagline? Like Nike’s ‘Just do it’? Or Apple’s ‘Think Different’?
There is some paradox for the lover of words. Because the volume of words is not nearly as valued as the meaning of those words.
The real art and appreciation is in delivering the maximum meaning in the fewest words possible or as better described by Mark Twain as “a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense”.
Keeping your points succinct makes it easy for others to hear, to hold, to consider, to repeat, to remember, to action. The longer it takes to communicate the point, the more likely your words will be lost – competing with other noise, activities, word associations and meanings that can be personally attributed.
Increasingly our communications are being compressed into bite sized chunks. Whether it is TV, radio, video, voicemail, a quotation attributed, a headline or article referenced, a 140 character post on Twitter or 421 characters on Facebook , we are being asked to scale our communication into succinct points. How do you turn those restrictions into opportunities?
It takes active discipline and focus to communicate something a in few words so that it is meaningful and powerful. If you can also make those words memorable and repeatable, you have just unlocked one of the keys to success.
With every opportunity to communicate, we need to take time and plan in advance how to better utilize the small chunks of space that we have. Hence before you are under pressure, take the opportunity now to stop and think about your 10 second sound bite.
How can you pack the most punch into a few words?
How would you answer the question of “What do you do?” or “What do you want to do?” in 10 seconds? As a leader and manager you must also be able to clearly answer the question of “Why are we here?”, “What is my role?” and “How can I help?” in the same bite sized chunks.
Consider today what other questions or opportunities you have to communicate something where the impact of those words matters to you or your business.
In business and most of our personal interactions, every question requiring a response should be considered as having been asked the question “Why should I care?”. Treat the next 10 seconds as the most important in ensuring that they will.
By communicating what you want someone to understand and action in a 10 second sound bite, you may surprise yourself at just how effective you can be.
Pythagoras, the Greek Philosopher and Mathematician said “Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few “. Just like maths required back in highschool, you need to practice Pythagoras theory – just this time as he applied it to words. It is an essential skill if you are in leadership, marketing, sales or any role that requires communicating with others.
So perhaps I should finish this article with the message I have tried to convey using my own 10 second sound bite:
”When it comes to effective communication – keep your words simple, succinct and clear. Chunk them into 10 second sound bites. Only then can they be used and re-used to powerful effect”