Remember when we needed to write a 500, a 1,000, or a 3,000-word essay for school? Don’t those times seem sooo last century, when the quantity of the content was equally important to the quality of the content? Am I starting to sound like my parents, who always talked about long-gone times? Would I now be able to make it to 3,000 words in an essay, after training myself to convey 140, 256, or 700 character communications all over the social media world? The ongoing trend of shortening and compressing communication in business is becoming so common that we are becoming pre-programmed to think and communicate in a short, direct, and effective way. The handicap might only become obvious for a moment, on rare occasions when you realize that you have a great piece of communication in front of yourself, but you just can’t fit it in your usual ‘le petit’ mold.
As a Chicagoan, I maintain contact with the community through many subscribe lists for the area … I’m currently not residing in Chicago, so the other day thanks to one of those subscriptions, I had a nostalgic moment when I was linked to an inspiring video from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The experience of watching the video was like this:
- It started with excitement!
- Then, emotions overwhelmed me!
- Then, I approached a moment of pride!
- Then, a moment of acknowledging a job well-done from the marketing/communications side!
- Then, moment of coolness - connecting all of their statistic with dog years and Kim Kardashian!
- Then, they got the ‘Wow” out of me for all that they do or stand for!
- Then, hmmmmm…
I couldn’t say anything bad about the video, since it really was well made…but something was missing. Something that kept bothering me for a couple of minutes….and I just couldn’t figure it out.
4min and 21 seconds!!! The fact was that the video was too long for me! I became nervous halfway through…even if the content, their statistics, their success were all impressive and informative, I became jittery as the video pushed my limits. I became afraid. Am I really so handicapped that I’m incapable of handling more than 2 minutes of video content/communication? What happened to that person that knew how to appreciate and enjoy quality videos, articles, and speeches no matter how long they were, if they were good?
That person micronized – as most things in business: “Your email is too long”, “Your presentation is too long”, “Your excerpt is too long”, “Your status is too long”, “Your article is too long”… “Nobody is going to read/watch that…people don’t have time”.
Micronize. Shorten the URL. Forget the introduction. Get straight to the point.
The entire concept of ‘le petit’ measures communication not in words but in characters - exaggerating to the point that even empty spaces count. How far can we push this concept of micronization if we micro-blog, micro-write, micro-talk, micro-listen?! and then as a result of the process, even micro-communicate?
Don’t business schools still teach that the optimal balance of effectiveness and efficiency are key to business success…so how are we supposed to transmit powerful messages, influence stakeholders and customers, and make a difference if we continue to micro-communicate – an efficient, but not necessarily effective form of communication?
Great job Northwestern Memorial Hospital! Excuse the new generation of ’micronizers’ that can’t get through 4.21 minutes of high quality content!
Have 4.21 minutes?