What a week. A lot happened! Bin Laden was killed, America went wild, I spoke at a Church Leadership conference for 2 days in Atlanta, several accounts needed to be ramped up, and then my Client Service Coordinator of 4 years finished on Friday. So, I completed several interviews 3 evenings this week. And I also had an unexpected out of town meeting yesterday. It seemed like I didn’t actually sit down all week.
Have you ever tried to tell someone quickly how your week went? You have 2 ways to do it. The answer that you give in the hall at the Church when asked, “Hi! How’d your week go?” and then there’s the answer to your best friend who says, “So, how did your week go?” There’s your short answer, and a long answer.
When it comes to developing content for your communication materials (print and web); you have to choose the short reply.
- People don’t read paragraphs unless they tell a story (like a blog). Then people will spend about 60 seconds to “read”.
- People are busy and their attention span is about 10 seconds. That’s not a long time to give information.
- It’s ultimately easier. Think about delivering a “little” content won’t take as long.
So how do you do this? Start honing your editing skills. Skills like:
- Describe the Purpose. Read the paragraphs and imagine that you had to tell someone the overview of the content. That’s what the introductory sentence (or two) should say.
- Look for Bullets. Think about ways to use bullets or numbers. They’re great for scanning, and it’s easier to give lists than to write the prose around them.
- Use Bolding. After you read it, edit it, then reread, and edit again; then go through and bold some main points. So those who want to really scan, can.
And that’s it. Sounds easy, but it’ll take a bit for you to edit while you write. The more time you take to make it short, the more that people will read it. It’s really worth it!