Tom’s plan is amazingly complicated: make a rope ladder out of bed sheets and smuggle it into the cabin by hiding it in a baked pie.
Then create a saw and use it to saw a bed leg in half in order to release the chains.
Jim should keep a journal of his captivity, thinks Tom, so he obtains a shirt for Jim to write on. Instead of providing a pen he finds a piece of brass candlestick, and instead of using ink recommends Jim use blood.
If that wasn’t hard enough he also recommends digging a tunnel into the cabin. Using nearby picks and shovels would be just too easy so he recommends using case knives which would be much harder.
By contrast, Huck’s plan is simple: steal a key and open the cabin, then slip the chains out from underneath the bed leg.
This tale from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain reminded me that communication planning can also sometimes be this way.
It can be tempting to inadvertently complicate communication plans as we seek to demonstrate, as communications professionals, that we know our craft. But all the client really wants to know is how to get from A to B.
Communication plans must address complex issues but they have to be tackled and explained simply. Why dig a tunnel when you can unlock a door?
Tom Sawyer said he planned it that way because he wanted “adventure”.
But communications professionals can do without the adventure when trying to win over clients and produce business results.
Often the best communications plan is the simplest, most simply explained.
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