Daniel Burgess is the owner of Burgess House Creative Communication and collaborator with the Bird Dog Development team. Today, he shares his thoughts on quality communication and the importance of concise messaging.
To be worthwhile, a communicator must answer three questions.
-Who is the audience?
-What is the message?
-Why does it matter (to the audience, not the writer or the client)?
When you zero in on these three simple questions – and answer them accurately – you are 90 percent guaranteed good communications. Sure, you can add in, with great care, a call to action along with all the other marketing buzz words you hear. But these things will not matter – will not net results – without answers to the three cardinal questions.
Once answers to these questions are integrated into your piece, that’s where experience, instinct and talent take over. There is no substitute for this either. That is why one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain is so important to me.
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
Pardon the pun but this concept still hits the mark every time. And that is where experience, instinct and talent become integral in the good communications quotient. That also is the place where effective editing is crucial. Think of the page as real estate. The more space you use without proper editing the costlier it is because all the space in the world will yield no results without this symphony of sentence – carefully strung together to make the right point to the intended audience.
By the way, another favorite quote of mine is also from Mr. Twain. He once wrote a letter to his niece. In it he said, “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time.”