‘Be a complexity reducer, not an information producer’
Diane Gayeski, Ph.D., once found that a restaurant chain gave managers four to six hours’ worth of information to process each day. (That, alas, is not Gayeski’s most startling statistic, just the handiest.)
Gayeski, CEO of Gayeski Analytics, helps companies figure out how much time they’re asking employees to spend processing information.
After watching her clients’ employees deal with a huge amount of information, Gayeski came up with this rule of thumb for communicating:
“Be a complexity reducer, not an information producer.”
That would make a great job description for communicators.
Which role are you playing for your audience?
Do less, but do it better.
Your readers receive the data equivalent of 174 newspapers, ads included, daily. So how can you make sure you’re cutting through the clutter, instead of contributing to it?
One approach is to do less, but do it better.
This suggestion flies in the face of current communications cultures. There, writers and editors are expected to produce a website, weekly newsletters, daily updates and hourly news flashes for each audience they serve.
Don’t get sucked into the system. Remember, nobody wants more information. (According to the Pew Research Center, they especially dislike corporate communications.) They just want better information.
Perform triage on your work.
One solution: Perform triage on your work:
- Prioritize your efforts around business objectives.
- Spend the most time on top-priority items.
- Do a moderate job on mid-priority tasks.
- Hack out low-priority projects. Can you get by with five Ws and an H?
How can you reach all of your readers?
Read it and weep. More than half of all Americans have basic or below-basic reading skills, according to the DOE’s latest adult literacy test.
To reach all of your readers — regardless of their reading level — please join me at Rev Up Readability, — our tight-writing workshop that begins on Nov. 14.
You’ll learn to make every piece you write easier to read and understand. You’ll walk away with secrets you can use to reach more readers, measurably improve readability and sell concise writing to management. And you’ll learn to write messages that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.