Simplicity is hard work

Let me start by asking if anyone has ever said:

“This is too easy for me to understand?”

In a world of buzz words, powerpoints, spreadsheets and metrics it’s important to keep in mind that everyone finds this marketing world a little daunting or just plain confusing at times. It’s important that we all do our part to help simplify and declutter the BS that’s out there.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought something along these lines…Post1

Post2
Post4
Post3
Post5

I know that sometimes it’s easier to put all the bullet-points on a, every column in the excel sheet or disguise normal activities with buzz words. As human beings it’s in our nature to take the path of least resistance. And unfortunately a lot of companies and agencies think:

  • More data = More insights
  • More bulletpoints = More thinking
  • More buzzwords = More knowledge

In my experience, this is hardly ever the case. In fact, a lot of people I know would agree that this is probably a more accurate depiction of what people think:

  • More data = You couldn’t be bothered to sift through the data and pull out the relevant insights that could help us
  • More bulletpoints = You aren’t able to simplify what you want to say because you haven’t given it enough thought
  • More buzzwords = You know what you want to say is either boring, obvious or generic so using buzzwords makes it sound fancy

Simplicity, whether it’s in the way you delegate, email, speak, write or present is not easy. It’s why I loved this quote from Einstein so much:

2016-12-21-10_43_11-nordeateam_1000headsprezobyricc-pptx-powerpoint

Sure we all know that simplicity is key, to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and that if you could explain it to a kid it would be far more effective, but what people seem to overlook is the second part of that quote. The “…you don’t understand it yourself” part. That’s the key.

Dan Roam sums it up beautifully in this clip from his presentation to Google:

But the thing to keep in mind here is that having a good grasp of things and keeping messages simple takes a lot of hard work. It takes thinking time, mapping things out, jotting things down in notepads, thinking about things while you’re on the bus.

The trick is to spend time using your brain first before jumping into PowerPoint, replying to that email or putting that pitch video together.

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