Today is the shortest day of the year, so let’s take a quick look at brevity.
In today’s era of gnat-length attention spans, unhealthy brevity is even more important than ever, but simply shortening your message without improving it will fail. (Sometimes less is less.) In telling stories, one vivid detail trumps a lot of boring detail. In selling, one unique differentiator that the customer values will trump a long list of features. One well-designed chart can replace several minutes of explanation.
Just a few words can pack a tremendous punch. Supposedly, Hemingway was at lunch with several writers and claimed he could write a short story in just six words. Bets were made, and Hemingway scrawled on a napkin:
“For sale, baby shoes, never worn.”