Want better results? DO the minimum…

26th October 2021

Two facts about communications:

  1. Most people prepare them in the same way
  2. Most communications aren’t very good

Which lead to the conclusion: preparing in the usual way doesn’t lead to great communication!

In fact, here’s how most people prepare most comms – write the:

  1. Start, often using a boring title (FYI, update)
  2. Content – often too long, irrelevant and/or boring
  3. End – which often basically says “I’ve finished now” (summary, thank you, any questions)

Instead, a better way to prep is ‘DO minimum‘:

  1. DO – think “What do I want them to DO after this communication?”
  2. Minimum – “Therefore, what’s the minimum I need to say, to ensure they DO it?”

This approach helps guarantee:

  • They’ll DO something
  • It’s short!


  • Next email, write your bottom paragraph first – “please can you (insert their DO). And then I’ll (insert what you’ll then DO)”. Once you’ve written this, go back to the top: you’ll find the rest of the email becomes much shorter
  • Next meeting, start by identifying what you want to happen/DO after it – what decisions are you hoping to make; what actions are you hoping they’ll take? Then, work backwards to create a focussed, shorter agenda
  • Next presentation, don’t start your prep by thinking “What do I want to say?” Instead, start by creating the final slide “Please can you now DO this. And then I’ll DO that”. Again, you’ll need fewer slides now

When you think about it, the only thing that matters about communication is what people DO after it.

Which is why we always end Tuesday Tips with…

Action Point (or ‘Now, please DO this!’)

Three things to DO:

  1. For your next communication – email, meeting, presentation etc – prepare it using ‘DO minimum
  2. To help with the ‘minimum bit’, click here you might also like to DO this
  3. Last one – ensure you use a good title. Here’s a quick reminder why…

In last week’s Tip, I split my Distribution List into three, and used a different title for each group (the rest of the Tip was identical). We got interesting results…

Two titles had virtually the same opening rate. They were ‘The Golden Rule of Titles’ and ‘How one tiny change helped 500,000 extra people’

But the third title’s opening rate was 50% higher. Fifty per cent! That one was ‘Grab attention early – without trying!’

Which is a great reminder – when you’re communicating with lots of people, it’s often worth split-testing with a sample first (so, split your sample and use a different title for each). If, as here, you get a clear winner, you know what to do for your mass mail-out!

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