The Less Said the Better!

By Andy Beaubien, BPR

The first rule of effective communication should be as follows:

Be concise! If you wish to make yourself understood, use as few words as necessary. 

Over the years, we have developed the notion that the quantity of words that we choose to express an idea is proportional to the effectiveness of message. Simply said, more words lead to better understanding. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Our ability to process verbal information is limited. Who among us has not found our mind wandering during a lecture or in a meeting? Our ability to comprehend spoken information is even more strained when we are also occupied with other activities such as driving a car or working at the office.

Successful radio broadcasters have long known that shorter slogans are better than long ones. Shorter promos are also better than long ones. Fewer words give the listener a better chance to understand and retain what you are trying to say.

Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Use fewer words and shorter sentences.
  • In most cases, a 20 second promo is more effective than a 30 second promo.
  • When trying to sell something, limit yourself to one big idea.
  • Repetition of the same idea in the same way causes listener fatigue.
  • Edit, edit, edit! Edit your copy like a butcher trims a piece of meat.


Enough said? In keeping with these rules, I will end here. Good luck!

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