Economy of Words

Good communicators are aware of an economy of words.

Whether its blogging or public speaking or preaching– you must have a constant awareness of how many words your audience is capable of processing in the amount of space/time you have.

Too many words and people get overloaded and tune you out. (or navigate to another website) Sloppy word usage or a lack of creativity? You’ve lost them. They may be present, but their minds are gone.

Have you ever wondered why people can recount exactly what happened during an episode of their favorite show but can’t remember the three main points of your last sermon?

The secret? Editing.

Television shows, movies, magazine articles and even songs are all edited to maximize your retention of the words.

They go through a process. Someone writes it. It gets edited. It gets rehearsed. It gets edited again. Then it gets performed. (If its recorded then it gets edited one more time.)

Let’s review:

1. Unimportant messages, things flowing from the entertainment industry, are edited to maximize impact with an understanding that the audience can only handle so many words before they stop taking it in. (Entertainment is passive in response, by nature. But looks at it’s impact in moving people!)

2. Important messages, let’s say… things that are taught in youth group or Sunday morning at church… are almost never edited, rehearsed, or vetted in any way. (The Gospel message is active in response, by nature. But look at it’s impact in moving people!)

And we wonder why the message doesn’t get through?