The Power of 26 – Brevity

We live in an accelerated world.

A breakneck pace each day.

Deadlines galore.

Pressure builds.

Be better. Stronger. Faster. – NOW. We are racing to outperform the Six Million Dollar
Man,
portrayed by actor Lee Majors, in the 1980’s.

To accomplish such astounding feats, we find ourselves shortening everything. 

Long flowing eloquent correspondence, replete with smart descriptive informative
sales copy gives way to ROTFLMAO, or other equally muted descriptions which
pass for communication.

Brevity communicates volumes without writing them. We live in an age of unmatched
speed for delivering our thoughts. Our trade for this speed is the necessity to trim
everything to initials.
Text messaging it seems lives and dies by a race to shorten words to letters or symbols. 
The speed demand is insatiable.

Genuinely I applaud and respect those few who master brevity and clarity in one blow.

In a recent blog, I commented on the power of immortal words such as those conveyed by
Mr. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. A mere 272 words, he moved a nation for generations.

I think even his extraordinary writing talents would be hard pressed to fit that into
a 140 Character tweet.

Certainly I recognize not all of us are imbued with writing talents.  By his own admission,
prolific writer Edgar Allan Poe confessed that ‘writing is slavery’, in his ongoing quest that
every syllable be exact. Every nuance of his writing be noted. 

Few of us now have the time or inclination to devote ourselves to such noble endeavours as
improving our communication.

Equally I acknowledge that not all short messages are good. Or correct. Or engaging.

On the flip side, a story well told will engage the reader regardless of length.

Many of the most prolific authors would disdain a word limit if it compromised the
character development. 

I exhort you please, to take full advantage of the 26 letters and use them well.
If you can be crisp, engaging, brilliant, relevant, specific in 10 words, you won’t need 100.

Be certain your reader understands fully your intent or your brevity has just compromised
the time you saved.

We have the most incredible tool and force at our fingertips each day. The Power of Words.

And we diminish them for the sake of speed. Such a travesty.

The words we live by are our culture, our lifestyle and for some, our livelihood in multiple formats.
To see them reduced to initials and phonetics does such an injustice to the force they hold and
the dynamism they spread.

Readers, please understand, from the outset, I applaud those who can tighten the alphabet
to turn novels into paragraphs. Corporate mission statements into memorable taglines.

Convey the essence of a product or service to a few words.
Those are the gems. The ones that remain with us.

My career to date has seen me the composer of several ads, but more often the custodian
of their placement. Computer products in newspaper and radio ads. Financial and travel
service ads on TV for 30 or even 15 seconds. Outdoor posters with few words and a seven
second viewing span.  The placement of all these has enhanced my appreciation for the
talent which transforms a seven page creative brief into 3 or 4 words.

That brevity is brilliance. The distillation of a hundred pages of attributes.

Reams of pages about the technology embedded in a product.

All that, condensed to a memorable message, is the power of Brevity.

The Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly
dennis@firstimpressionsmedia.ca
http://www.firstimpressionsmedia.ca

 

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