We Hear It, We Say It–We Even Believe It–But The `Less is More’ Truism Can Be Lip Service

“Less is more.”

We’ve heard it on countless occasions. We may even have said it more than a few times. And it’s so often the perfect counsel, in any variety of situations. But how often do we blow the opportunity to actually practice it?

Before the (often-overdone) chatter: that's me on the far left, with six other school board candidates.

Before the (often-overdone) chatter: that’s me on the far left, with six other school board candidates.

This comes to mind on the heels of the first candidates’ forum in my campaign for the District 200 Oak Park and River Forest High School Board.

There are nine of us vying for four spots and even with two absent, that left seven people communicating their background, their motivation for running, the issues that we feel are top priorities, and so forth.

To a person, we all stumbled on occasion in keeping within the time allotted by the moderator. Some were more stumble-prone than others, and I like to think I was among a subset who weren’t quite as long-winded. Even so, at the next forum, and the one after that, and the one after that, I will do my darnedest to heed the words of Brian Burkhart, “Chief Word Guy” at SquarePlanet Presentations + Strategy:

“More information in less time isn’t better. To use an analogy, drinking from a firehose leaves an audience with the message equivalent of feeling disoriented, tortured and still thirsty because nothing actually went where it was supposed to.”

Yep…what he said!

Related Posts:
A Recent Reminder on the Power of Brevity, More or Less
A Less-Is-More Creative Gem From Bill Daniel

Part I, 2014 PR & Marketing Resolution: Consume Better Sources of Information

As we look ahead to the next 12 months, much that rattles around is so much white noise—about the same shade as the snowfall that is currently descending on Chicagoland.

We are barraged with stuff like “I am resolved to eat better” and “I am resolved to exercise more,” along with endless tips on how to heighten your likelihood of success. That’s all well and good, particularly in light of our nation’s penchant for packing on pounds and putting regular exercise so far down on our priority list.

But for those of us in the public relations and marketing arena, those common New Year’s resolutions can take on a special significance when translated to our professional efforts. Let’s first examine “I am resolved to eat better” in a PR/marketing context.

Another term for eating is “consuming” and as communicators, we are continually in the mode of consuming information. Some is for our pleasure, some is for our professional use—and all of it has an impact on the clarity, sharpness and creativity in our thinking. And the quality of our thinking has a direct bearing on the quality of our communication.

So when it comes to your sources of input, what resolutions do you believe would be beneficial in the realm of “eating better”? Here are some of mine:

Consume more inspirational and insightful information.

It’s hardly the only game in town, but an excellent resource that fits this bill is http://www.ted.com/.

Today, about five years after first coming across TED, I am amazed when I mention it to knowledgeable, bright people and they give me a blank look. They have never heard of it before.

This reveals more the reality of our fragmented channels of communication than any of these individual’s tastes or information-gathering diligence. In short, there are simply so many outlets available to us that there is no way we can possibly stay on top of it all. However, we can make a concerted effort to increase the proportion of input that inspires and illuminates.

Consume more quality news content.

Let’s expose ourselves to insightful perspectives on the news that go beyond the obvious and offers historical context and that elusive Holy Grail of reporting long referred to as “balance.” Undoubtedly, just what constitutes “quality” and “balance” will vary from one person to the next, so that brings us to the next resolution recommendation.

Consume from a wider variety of sources.

Expanding the range of your concentric circles of “appropriate news sources” is fine, but don’t stop there. Make more regular forays into far-flung sources that might go so far as to be 180 degrees opposite your viewpoint, whether political, intellectual or otherwise.

By keeping an open mind, we are tilling fertile soil for growth, broader understanding and more nuanced refinement of our core views. Besides, we might just learn that we’ve been flat-out wrong about a few things along the way.

What does this all have to do with public relations and marketing?

For starters, it makes us more well-rounded individuals, with a more expansive knowledge base. That wider base, in turn, enables us to relate to a wider spectrum of people (including prospects and clients) and to devise more diverse and creative ways of telling stories. And that, without a doubt, can turbo-charge any PR or marketing endeavor that you launch.

Related Posts:
TedX Midwest 2011: Illustrated, Illustrious Inspiration in Under 3 Minutes
How ‘Why’ Can Inject Real Life Into Your Next News Release