Dec 18, 2023

"When you say three things, you say nothing."

In communication, we have an urge to tell our audience everything. If you are a management trainee and you have worked on a project for 2 months, you would want to say each and everything to your mentor in the final presentation.

Even when we make presentations to our senior management, we have the urge to say a lot. We want to say, "Look we have worked hard on this and we know so much."

But the problem - the senior manager does not have time for all this. Look at this print ad for example. It came in the Times of India.

What is this ad trying to communicate to us?

  1. The tea has 7 refreshing spices. So, it is tasty.
  2. There is a celebrity who endorses this tea.
  3. There is a container free with this tea.
At the end of it all, nothing 'remains' with us. The brand has tried to say three things in one single ad.

In the book Made to Stick, the authors Chip and Dan Heath say, "When you say three things, you say nothing." If we apply that here, the ad should have said ONE thing to us.

Talk about the refreshing spices or talk about why the chef loves this tea or promote the container offer.

What happens when you focus on one claim? You can amplify it. You can give all the design space to it. You can remove all the clutter and put the spotlight one thing. Your audience will understand it, get excited about it and remember it.

This applies to all kinds of communications. Imagine you are making a presentation. While you can say 3 or 5 things in a presentation of 30 minutes, you must focus on one thing in one slide.

Give one message in one slide.

Doing this will help you overcome one of the biggest problems of communication - information overload. And it will make you a 5x better presenter.

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