“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” -– Mark Twain
I know just how Twain felt. Short and sweet messages that still convey our full meaning are harder to craft than long, drawn-out treatises. (That’s why truly powerful, memorable taglines are so elusive: they sum up the organization and its mission in just a few words.) But brevity is the key to getting our message across.
Today’s young people face ever-increasing demands on their attention, leading them to jump between tasks and tune out when something goes too long. Did you know that some studies report that the average American attention span is 8 seconds? If we don’t condense our message to be consumable in 8 seconds or less, they just may not hear it.
Next time you say or write something, especially to the younger generations, think about how to make it shorter. I will be. In fact, I’m going to take my own advice about brevity and end this right here. Be brief—it’s best.