Saturday, November 05, 2011

Cut the Crap - How Brevity is in Fashion Now!

Was in a meeting the other day with a client when he told me that since he did not have the time could I describe our proposition in 5 minutes. And to think we had prepared a presentation which detailed our offerings. And while he was interested; you see - he did not have the time!

It's the world of keeping it short, keeping it brief - brevity is the key!

You look around and you will see brevity touching our lives in more ways than one! A snapshot.
  • Relationships -
    • Kim Kardhashian may take the cake for her marital longevity (or shortness) but in the age of quick relationships and 'wham bham thank you ma'am' one night hook ups, relationships are fleeting and so is commitment. No wonder divorces and break ups are increasing. Partners change within days.                                                                                                                                  
  • Clothing -
    • Dressing less. Skin is in. For both sexes. Cleavages are common and so is the decreasing hem line. The motto seems the lesser the better - the oomph factor aside!
  • Communication -
    • Look at any print ad. The copy if any is limited and the visual is large. The effort is the communicate the message in a jiffy. Long copy is long gone!
    • The micro blogging site - twitter is a clear way how the world is portending. 140 characters and that's it! 
    • Texting on mobiles - SMS and BBM. 'Whtevr hppnd 2 gud engl?'                                                              
  • Sport
    • Even sport has evolved into shorter formats.
    • Cricket has the T20 formats and even a Super Sixer tournament. 
    • Field Hockey has a 9 side game with shorter fields and shorter game formats. 
    • Golf has a speed version
    • So does Rugby, Chess etc.
  • Business -
    • Earlier we had announcement of full year or annual results, then it became half yearly and now this has been further shortened to a quarter. I wouldn't be surprised if analysts start asking for a monthly number. What is even more surprising is that the same analysts will talk about long term strategy of a company
    • No wonder many employees have a short term focus. They are only bothered about the immediate results and do not have a long term perspective. I know of people who will work for an organization only for 2 years after which they move greener pastures. 
    • Even the presentation to investors have now become famous with the 'elevator pitches'. 
  • Religion - 
    • Even God has been given a shorter shrift. Churches, temples and seen shorter services and ceremonies. Nobody has the patience to communicate to god for a long time. 

Why is there a brevity syndrome?
  • Information overload (thanks to Toffler!) - With an ever increasing dosage of information which can be a deluge at times, people are bombarded with disparate information. They have to sieve through all of that to pick out the best. As we speak there are some 7 business news channels in India alone apart from the multitude of international and national news channels ( both English and local language)
  • Attention deficit  - As people have to do multiple things at one time and receive stimuli in different forms it is difficult to sort all of it. Hence people are not able to focus on any one bit of information. This lack of focus percolates everywhere.
  • Spoiled for Choice - Any person has a bewildering array of choices across any aspect from relationships to machines. The variety creates both confusion and disdain alike. 
  • Paucity of Time - Multi-tasking, pressure, double careers other interests - all euphemisms for a lack of time to spend and dwell on subjects.

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