Scooby-Doo, where are you?

The power of a few words…

For most of us, with those five words we’re instantly transported back to watching cartoons on TV when we were kids. That’s all it takes. Just five words.

So, if just five words can magically transport you back two, three, four or even five decades…why do businesses think an 80-page strategy document is a good way to communicate anything?

Nothing is made clearer by 80 pages of closely-typed script. As an old boss of mine used to say, if you can’t explain something on the back of a fag packet, you don’t understand it well enough.

Often, this lack of clarity holds businesses back.

Trying to “cover all the bases”, satisfy everybody, tick every box and pay homage to every special interest group and sub-sector in the economy is more likely to cause you trouble than take you where you want to go.

In communication, less is always more. A handful of words can shift your mood in an instant and kick in memories you’d forgotten you even had.

I had exactly that experience last weekend. My dad mentioned the name a singer my late grandmother used to like. That’s all it took to transport me back to memories of my granny dancing around the kitchen to one of his albums while she made the tea.

Just his name…the name of someone who’s not been in the public eye for probably 30 years…and I was transported back to the early 1980s.

If “Scooby-Doo, where are you?”, “Nice to see you, to see you nice!” or “Listen carefully…I will say this only once” mean anything to you, you’ll recognise that a handful of words, if they’re the right words, is vastly more powerful than an 80 page strategy document when you’re trying to engage hearts and minds.

Which is important because you can’t build a great business without engaging hearts and minds.

That’s how you motivate your people, engage your suppliers and enthuse your customers. You have to talk to their emotions, not their logical brain, for results like that.

How many words do you need to motivate your people, engage your suppliers and enthuse your customers?

I’m prepared to bet it’s a lot fewer words than you’re using at the moment.

Published by Alastair Thomson

Founder of Better Business Publishing Ltd. An experienced Chairman, CEO, CFO and Non-Executive Director for large multinationals across sectors such as advertising, manufacturing, financial services, utilities, printing, direct mail fulfilment, contact centres, professional membership bodies, education and training.

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