Thursday

The BEST Executive Decision


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

Do you want your teams to remember your messages? Think like a headline!

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.

Strategic Editing

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.
No matter what the communication venue, frame your initial idea concisely. Make it a communication best practice. You'll set the tone for targeted, focused communication and gain an uptick in memorability!