Have you noticed that time is passing faster? Me too, and I'm not all that old.
But maybe time seems to fly by because we're exposed to shorter messages and that's a good thing. Many experts calculate an adult's attention span from eight seconds to about six minutes, so it's important to cram lots of information into a short time.
Maybe you've already noticed that e-mail seems to get better response if it's brief and succinct. But what about press releases? Well, many companies now choose to release a single page story instead of a multi-page one.
If you believe as I do that a two minute (or shorter) message is the wave of the future, how can you send an effective one? Here are ten brief thoughts:
1. SINGLE THEME Stick to one main point, and reveal it at the first of the message. If you've got two or three points to make, stress the most important first and use the others as supporting points.
2. AGE There's some research that claims the younger the audience, the shorter message it wants. Reason? Folks under 35 are used to receiving information in brief form.
3. MINI-PARAGRAPHS Because people on-the-go want briefer messages, they likely want short sentences and short paragraphs too. Consider paragraphs of three sentences or less.
4. NEED IDEAS? I think the best messages are radio commercials. Listen to how well they create images -- and motivate listeners -- in one minute or less.
5. EXPERT ADVICE Most folks want and pay attention to advice from experts.
6. CURRENT EVENTS Can you link your feature with a current event or popular trend?
7. PROGNOSTICATOR Does your story predict the future of an event or industry?
8. FAMOUS QUOTE Does a famous quote or quote by a famous person -- add emphasis to your story?
9. HEADLINE HINT Don't write your headline until you've finished writing your story. It's easier to make the headline summarize the story than it is to write a headline, then write the story to fit it.
10. POPULAR HEADLINES In our experience, the two most popular headlines are those that (a) ask a question or (b) present a list like the story you're reading now.
RIX QUINN'S writing discusses many ways to present messages quickly. His book "Words That Stick" is available from http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS8/qid/
For details on his corporate workshops about brief writing, call 817-920-7999.