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Making Your Point Quickly

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Communication

Why would you seek to write or "say your piece" quickly? To whom, when, how, why? Some documents demand brevity if they're to meet the goals of their author. Other types of publication fare better when presented using a meandering, journey-like style. So let's examine the implications.

In a nutshell:

  • Certainly in your business or marketing communications, usually, you'll want to get your key message understood by your target readers as soon as possible.
  • Ideally, 90% of the key points of your message should be embedded within the document title and subsequent follow-up headings.
  • For novels and short stories however, make your own judgment as you guide your reader to some sort of conclusion, direction, or point of suspense.
  • However, surprises can ... surprise us. Why: amid both groups above, exceptions to the rule can be just as effective in creating the desired result. 

Nevertheless, whenever someone creates a "rule" or guideline - such as the suggestions above - consider that almost certainly another has probably broken those same "rules" or guidelines and achieved resounding success with their publication! 

Resist the urge to stifle your inner rebel. Sometimes, there's nothing like a little rage, hellfire, and damnation to add interest and spice to what might otherwise be dry topics.

Key tips:

  • Ask yourself whether the only rule is that there really are no rules.
  • By all means, when first starting out, you may choose to follow so-called conventional wisdom, and that's fine.
  • Don't be afraid to test accepted conventions, break some rules, try different approaches.
  • Most important: find and use reliable ways to measure the effects of changes you make to what you do. That's how we learn what techniques work best and what to bypass.

Consider the following guidelines to help enjoy further training:

  • Read much and read widely.
  • Appreciate that video may not always offer the best solution for every need. Why: while video can provide impact, colour, movement, depending on the outcome you're seeking, those perceived advantages may deliver the action too soon.
  • Sometimes, for web pages, you can mix text and video to get the best return. On multiple occasions, when striving to engage the interest of website users, text-based web pages have been proven to out-perform video-based web pages.
  • Let your website visitors choose. You can produce two versions of a web page: one video-based, the other text-based. Then, let your visitors choose their preferred way of accessing your information. You can start by first displaying the video page. Your enhanced web design then ensures that once your visitor moves their mouse toward the web browser navigation bar, a small pop-up window displays that provides a friendly plea to stay a little longer, and which contains links to both the text-based web page version and the web video web page version.  
  • Remember skimmers and scanners. So many people today are way too busy, so may resist reading much: we skim and scan, but only reading allows us to absorb material with more impact. The challenge: if we don't read enough, do we have enough information to make a good decision?
  • Read the works of your favorite authors and take special note of the styles used. Strive to read some all-time classics too. Why: to gain a deeper perspective on human nature and why we do what we do.
  • Make focused notes about what you read. You can combine revelations from different authors to discover new insights. 
  • Read material from authors you wouldn't normally choose. Why: to expand your thinking in different direction to help build balance in what you write.
  • Never stop testing.