Reduce your words to increase your impact

by | Jul 22, 2013 | Blog | 0 comments

fat kewpie with measuring tape_1Want to influence more? Use fewer words and more images.

As consumers, we’re showing a preference for smaller info helpings at a sitting—unless we’ve decided we want to binge.

Consider the new Showtime drama Ray Donovan.

Part of Ray’s power over people is that he doesn’t talk much.

Instead, Liev Schreiber who plays Ray conveys his points by adjusting his eyes, nose and lips.

When we surf the web, we’re seeing more visuals with fewer words.

For example, many websites have replaced their walls of words with images and requests to “Hover over the icons to learn more.”

Thank technology, information overload and neuroscience for this trend.

When we’re on our mobile devices, the small screens prevent us from seeing as much as we can on our PC monitors.

And when we scroll, we go so fast that we tend to miss stuff.

Plus, regardless of where we are, we can access so much information that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

At least, when we see images or visualize them in our mind, our brain works faster with less energy.

Also images make stronger connections than words do, especially when we’re working with complex relationships.

So how do we adopt these brain-friendly techniques for ourselves, especially when we want to cut through the clutter, inspire people to adopt our strategic initiatives and increase our impact?

Try these three actions.

1. Speak with intent. Decide the essence of your message before you utter a word. Then use as few words as possible to convey your point.

2.  Be a lean writer. Think Twitter (140 characters), not Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.)—especially if people are likely to read your message or document on their mobile device or a tablet. (A good rule of thumb is to reduce your text by 50% of what you used to write.)

3. Be visual. Use pictures, both literally in your documents and figuratively in your speech.

You can combine all three tips like the TAGTeach trainers who WOOF requests to reinforce positive behavior change. WOOF stands for:

  • Determine What your instruction is.
  • Ask your participants to do One thing at a time.
  • Make the one thing something that’s Observable.
  • Say the instruction in Five words or less.

Being brief, bold and visual makes you and your content more memorable, actionable and influential.

What are you doing to serve tiny bites to avoid over-serving others?

If you’d like some more tips on making your content even more brain-friendly for mobile devices, email me.

Even with these tips, you still might have some people saying “TLDR” (too long; didn’t read). However, you’ll have reduced the weight of your words and be able to make a better impact.


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