Tweet alert. Almost 100 years ago on August 20th, The Times "telegrammed" the first message for global distribution. The simple sentence: This message sent around the world, comes in at six words, 35 characters. (Was this the original tweet?)
OK, cool trivia, but as a busy executive, why should you care?
The Times' historic "tweet" got me thinking. Can we communicate like the NY Times telegram ? From a communication standpoint, think of this anniversary telegram as a gauntlet of sorts. Take up the tweet-headline communication challenge.
(BTW, If you want to feel REALLY old, try to explain to your teenager what a "telegram" is and how it got transmitted..)
Get Memorable: Think in Headlines
It's tough for teams to retain information when they're bombarded with emails, voice-mails, tweets, presentations, VODS, face-to-face meetings, etc.
Take a lesson from the Times (and Twitter): scale down the length of your initial sentences. Think in terms of a concise and focused headline. It's one of the best executive decisions you'll ever make.
Now, I'm not suggesting that every sentence be limited. But how you begin an idea is a critical place for a headline or tweet. The shorter, the more memorable. That means in:
- Emails: the subject line should be a compelling "headline."
- Voicemails: after you say, "hi", the next ten seconds should announce or "tweet" the main point of the call.
- Presentations: the title should be on one line, and it should be a value-rich message, not a factoid.
- Face-to-face meetings: Announce the initial idea or main point as a headline.
- VODs: Absolutely critical that you frame your ideas succinctly. Remember, most people are multi-tasking. Grab them with a verbal headline that is a 3-5 second soundbite.