Blah blah…important bit….blah blah.

How clearly and succinctly do you get your message across?

I’ve been pondering this quite a lot lately.

Partly this has been driven by the recurrence of sound bites coming from Leaders and Politicians alike and partly because of social media expert Jason Falls observation that Twitter has the very clear upside that you need to sell your compelling message in 160 characters.

Here’s an example of 160 characters:

This post aims to challenge leaders to compact their core messages to increase the clarity and impact. Jason Fall uses the term incise-full. Can you do it? Try.


• If all important staff announcements were limited to two tweets from the CEO. (78)
• If all meetings had to have a purpose and desired outcome clearly stated in one tweet. (87)
• If participants were to be limited to ten tweets per meeting. (61)
• If any explanation given was limited to three tweets. (53)
• If project funding requests were limited to ten tweets. (55)
• Phone calls – 8 tweets. I would happily survive with 2 and often do (coaching aside)! (87 – it was 96 but I saved 9 by deleting ‘Actually’ at the start of the second sentence) (+ 91)
• All delegated tasks were limited to three tweets – the task, the time frame, the resources. (91)

It sounds preposterous at first, but personally I think this could be done, and often to great benefit.

Listen out for the next time you justify or explain something to somebody.

How much was padding, sound bites and fluff?

Are you sure your audience heard what you needed them to hear?

How much wasted time in wasted words?

Let me know if you take up the challenge…

There, 284 words my least yet. (1627)

6 Replies to “Blah blah…important bit….blah blah.”

  1. I recall a clinical psychologist colleague of mine once suggesting to a CEO that for communication to be “effective” the sender needed to to be clear and concise. They also needed to ensure the receiver is in ” active” listening mode. This is the juxtaposition for me. Most people,I would argue,are over connected and as Sally Hogshead points out in her latest book “Fascinate”, we now live in an A.D.D World. This I think is the challenge,not so much the length of the message. Bring back critical thinking….that’s one skill that has gone missing. In other words…..allow time to think…..critically and deeply. That’s going to be a significant challenge in a world that demands a knee jerk and faster response to everything !

  2. Hi Jim thanks for contributing. I agree critical thinking is an art needing CPR, Can I suggest that using fewer words and being more comfortable with ‘quiet space’ in conversations (for critical thinking) would produce an excellent outcome. Richard

  3. I think leaders could think about authenticity, intent and delivery as well. People are sensitive to “hyped” rhetoric and turn off when they can’t join the dots.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. I understand that Winston Churchill used to demand that issues be summed up on a single page. But, it takes much more effort to write succinctly than to waffle. As Mark Twain famously said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”

    1. Hi Craig thanks for visiting and bringing the august Messrs Churchill and Twain into the conversation. A favourite Twain quote: Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid. Thanks again, Richard

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