Brevity is the name of the game.
Never before have humans had the ability to share more of their own thoughts at lightning speed.
Whether by means of Tiktok, texting, tweeting, or talking, right now, you can communicate anything of your choosing to just about anyone.
Does that make you feel powerful?
It should, but within reason, because you’ll have just a few competitors in the fight for attention.
You and I know this well, the average office worker receives 121 email messages a day and the average U.S. smartphone user gets 46 push notifications each day. Which brings us to an even more worrisome statistic: the average human attention span now falls behind that of a goldfish, at just 8 seconds.
8 seconds. That’s all you’ve got to capture a person’s attention, to communicate a message, or make your point.
To be clear, this isn’t a good thing. The result on the whole is increased public and personal anxiety and mistrust of information that comes from feelings of being overwhelmed.
Breaking through the noise
Recently, Team Xenophon joined PR and communications professionals from across the Mid-Atlantic region for PR Summit DC. We spent the day exchanging thoughts and ideas with leaders in our field on communications that break through the noise of our current cultural moment.
Among them was Roy Schwartz, Co-founder and President of Axios, who led a keynote session on “Using Smart Brevity for Effective Internal Communication.”
How does one define Smart Brevity? In their own words, Axios says that Smart Brevity prioritizes “essential news, explains its impact on readers, and delivers both in a concise and visual format.” This formula is just one part of their response to the previously mentioned “War for Attention,” that is fighting not just for external audiences but your own employees.
Here’s the problem we’ve found, your employees are likely not seeing this internal communications crisis the same way you are. What’s become clear is the gulf of disconnection between executives and employees that exists in the middle of this new age of communication.
To prove our point further:
- Axios found that 74% of communicators think they write concise and effective messages, while 60% of employees disagree.
- 60 to 80% of readers are scanning, not reading internal messages, according to data from The University of Maryland.
Where do we go from here?
Here exists a major communications problem. While it’s clear our internal messages must take a more concise form, what else must be done?
In the spirit of this post, we’ll keep this brief:
- Determine what your most important messages are and focus on those, everything else is likely fluff. Repeat these messages as many times as needed.
- Keep as few communications channels as possible. Team members should know where to expect to find new messages, not wasting time searching for them on the right platform.
- Don’t waste employees’ time. Place what you need them to see at the top of the email (don’t count on them scrolling to the bottom).
- Keep communication casual. Eliminate corporate jargon that results in instant eye-rolling and messages that live in the trash bin. People don’t like to read messages that feel like they’re coming from a robot.
In other words, keep it simple.
Interested in resuscitating your company’s internal communications? Reach out to our team of experts today.