Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keep it Short

This past Sunday, in conjunction with the PMI North America Global Congress, I hosted a Pecha Kucha night on behalf of the IT & Telecom SIG. This served as the launch event for the new PMI Agile Community of Practice.

Pecha Kucha is a style of presentations where you have 20 slides, each lasting only 20 seconds. This was the first time that I, or the other speakers, had given this type of presentation. We all agreed it was fun, but took a lot of work to get right.

I think this brings up an important point. How often have you received a very lengthy email where you couldn't figure out the real message? Like presentations, good writing requires effort. Trying to deliver your message in a short, concise format requires you to really work on refining the message. I think people get lazy with email, throw something together, and expect you to figure it out.

One exercise I like at the start of a project is developing an elevator speech. The idea is to be able to clearly define the purpose of your project in a couple of sentences. The challenge again is to make that message clear & concise at the same time.

So next time you're sending an email, take the extra time to read it through and decide if you are getting your message across in a concise manner. If not, you need to make it shorter.

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