“Small is Beautiful” became a catch-phrase for environmentalists in the 1970s, made popular by the influential book Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, written by E.F. Schumacher. When it comes to effective communications in 2021 and beyond, I think “short is beautiful” is a must technique for communicators.
Why? We used to coach people required to do media interviews that sound bites should be 20-seconds in length. Today, anything over 8-seconds seems long. This applies to television interviews, but it is even more relevant with social media. Sure, there are times and channels for long discourse on issues, but they are becoming far and fewer between. Today people want short presentations, they want to snack on short videos, and they want you to get right to it rather than working up to a point.
Short statements can be more memorable. Especially if they come with some emotion or passion, and with the right expressions and mannerisms to go along with it.
You would think this is easy, but it is not. Writers from Mark Twain to Blaise Pascal to Ben Franklin are often quoted to have said, “I am writing you a long letter because I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Same is true with verbal communications. Being succinct means that no words are wasted, and your language is used with precision. Some people are good at this naturally, but most people need to learn and practice the art of short is beautiful.