I was reminded of this fact when I recently stumbled across a few items on the BBC News website.
The headlines that really impressed me were not the ones carrying the latest news, but the ones that purported to sum up extremely difficult global issues, and in less time than it takes to boil an egg.
The Iraq Crisis could be summarised in 90 seconds, and the Ukraine crisis could be summed up in 60 seconds, as could the Blockade of Gaza.
It made me wonder, if journalists can do that for such complex and weighty subject matter, can there ever be any real excuse for us to produce anything but great concise copy at work, especially when the matters we are dealing with tend to be small potatoes by comparison.
Whether we’re writing for an internal or external audience, on articles, scripts or narratives, there’s a challenge to be as concise as we can to free up space for the content that really counts.
Getting it right really makes a difference. It holds the reader’s interest, gives clarity to your messages and makes an impact.
Going back to the BBC stories, I think that very often the issues crossing a communicator’s desk can involve extremely difficult subject matter, and be as complex as those news items described above.
They may not be about world events, battles or wars, but the issues still need to be unpicked, unpacked and distilled into something which may only take 60 seconds or so to digest, for an audience potentially coming to the subject for the first time.
Photo: Stig Andersen