TMI — Too Much Information

My best friend just had the cutest baby!  I was lucky enough to be one of the first non-family members to see little Victoria, and my friend looked so great.  She was surprisingly energetic, and within minutes she was trying to bond with me by launching into some heavy Mother Nature type of things.  At that queasy point, I glanced at her husband who reacted by saying, “Honey — TMI”.  She immediately acknowledged this insight and switched topics by talking about all the beautiful pink outfits she had to dress the baby, making me a lot more comfortable.

Now it’s not that I’m into fashion or superficial conversations, but considering I had never even been in a birthing room before, I definitely needed to ease my way into any sort of serious mommy discussion, which we eventually did, after a couple of months.

Funny, right?  This sounds somewhat familiar.  In fact, you know what it sounds like?  It’s just like the experiences our customers, prospects, and employees have with the information we share with them.  No matter how smart they are, they can only digest a certain amount of information at a time; otherwise if you force feed them too much, then they spit up the excess and it’s wasted on them. So when preparing letters, designing literature, or training someone, keep it simple, especially in the introductory stage.

People tend to glance at things first, and their eyes can only absorb 3-5 short phrases of 6 words maximum.  So start with a title or email subject around 6 words. Then, if you must write a lot if information, make sure it is all in the same font style and size and highlight no more than 5 things — whether those are links, italicized items, or bullets.  Also don’t forget that some people are mostly visual.  So it’s ideal to add a picture, diagram, or graph to your content. Then, as your reader gets to know you better, you can supplement  them with longer and more detailed documentation.

By the way, we are all guilty of writing too much, because we are naturally the experts in the things we know, and we sometimes forget that others aren’t coming from the same set of shared experiences.  So whenever you can, we suggest finding someone to review your work.  An objective eye can help make your communications much more impactful, as long as your editor  doesn’t rewrite everything and demotivate you.  So please choose wisely!

And of course, if you realize that you have bitten off more than you can chew and would like someone to give you another objective opinion, please reach out to us.  We’ve spent a lot time helping our clients develop different levels to their strategic messaging, and we’re happy to do the same for you.

All my best,

Aruna

 

“You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless.”

~ Charles de Gaulle ~

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