Too long. Too irrelevant. Too dull. DON’T BE!!

10th October 2023

The most common descriptions of corporate comms I hear are:

  • Too long
  • Too irrelevant
  • Too dull

This applies to all of them – meetings, emails, presentations, documents… everything.

Clearly, I get a skewed view of the world: after all, if a company’s comms were short, relevant and fascinating, they wouldn’t contact me!

But I’m going to assume you see lots of long, irrelevant, dull stuff. So, here’s how to fix it:

If they’re too long, shorten them

  • When preparing any communication, start by identifying its output: What do you want to happen after it? Once you know this, work backwards to create your content…
  • … and think ‘what is the minimum content I need, to achieve this output?’ For example, if the only reason for a meeting is to agree whether or not to continue with Project X, the only agenda items will probably be (1) why we should continue (2) why we shouldn’t (3) therefore our decision is (4) which means our next steps are… everything else is irrelevant. So strip it out.
  • For meetings, there’s an even easier fix… shorten them! Instead of scheduling 60 minute meetings, make then 45. Instead of 30 minutes, make them 20. Meetings always bang on too long anyway
  • Go verbal. Often communications are too long because we write instead of speaking. It is much easier to pick up the phone, agree things verbally, and then – if needed – confirm things in a short email

If they’re too irrelevant, make them relevant

  • Only include relevant things!
  • The above tip of ‘identify your desired outcome first’ means you’ll only include topics relevant to that outcome. All irrelevant stuff is removed
  • Ask about content. When someone asks you to prepare a communication for them, ask what content they want in it. That way, you’ll only include the relevant things. Better for you. Better for them. Much shorter and quicker for everyone

If they’re too dull, make them interesting

  • We all know what people find interesting – interactivity, stories, good visuals etc…
  • …so include some of these in your communications
  • Examples: since people like interactivity, ask them questions. Since they like stories, include some. Since they like good visuals, make your slides look nice – few words, bit of colour, more imagery, no bullet points!

I could go on. But I don’t want this Tip to become long, irrelevant and dull! So here’s the …

Action Point

For your next communication, make sure it’s short, relevant and interesting.

And then, when you see people prefer you communicating this way… keep doing it.

Want more Tuesday Tips?

Every week, Andy releases a Tuesday Tip via email and his website, let’s take you back to the archive of tips.

Back to Tuesdays Tips