Note: I was prompted by the recent political debates to re-publish
this popular post from the 2012 archives. Hope you enjoy it!
Graphic designers know how to focus your attention.
They frequently communicate through the use of white space.
Less is more. The message is clear. There's no clutter.
Use Verbal Whitespace
You can increase your verbal impact the same way. How many times have you wished that someone would just "say what they mean?"
Boss says: "We finished the senior level meeting and it looks as if we have to increase our numbers. We've been working hard on that project for a long time. I told the management team about the obstacles, how much overtime people have been putting in, and what the client has been saying. You know how much I appreciate your...."
Boss means: "We have to increase our sales by 10% and decrease our expenses by 5%. It's not really negotiable. I want to decide before the end of the meeting how we can do that."
Father: "You know, son, there are a lot of people out there who could get you into trouble. I know that you are really a good kid and don't want to get into trouble. Man, when I was your age, there were a lot of kids in my class who were doing things that their parents never knew about. One of them even ended up going to jail for awhile. We live in a tough world. When..."
Father means: "Son, I love you. I found out for sure that John on your soccer team is taking drugs. I don't want you to do that or even try it. You can die. And I love you."
The Power of Noun-Verb-Object
We think that piling on extra words somehow makes our communication more palatable and therefore, better. More than likely it will make it confusing and incomprehensible. Which can lead to "Uh, just what am I supposed to do?"
Start thinking the way your fourth grade teacher taught you: Noun-verb-object.
"Please (you) give me the first draft of your report by 5 o'clock on Thursday."
"We will meet on Tuesday at 10 am."
"Let's (us) start a new marketing campaign. I want to announce the kick-off in March."
Your brevity will be appreciated. Really.
Your message will be clear and understandable.
Your trust level with others will go up because your verbal packaging will go down.
Roesler communication principle #1: Truth comes in sentences. Bull**** comes in paragraphs.