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Someone showed me a list of nearly 30 salesperson expectations in their company; these were things salespeople were expected to be informed about and follow at all times. Most of the processes and behaviors were reasonable, although the list came across as sprawling because there was no attempt to help readers make sense of its varied topics.

It was a classic example of intellectual laziness – failing to make the effort to help the audience process and act on information successfully. The lesson is if you must share a long list of complex or diverse information with a broad audience, do the hard work yourself of organizing it in ways to make it more memorable and easily implemented.

Understanding that people can only remember about 7 things at one time, look for meaningful groupings in a big list. Some possibilities could include:

  • Categorizing it by subject or type
  • Using a chronological sequence in particular steps or phases
  • Assigning clear priority levels to tasks

These are just a few possibilities; there are certainly others. The key point is to place yourself in the reader’s role, imagine you know nothing about the information, and think through and organize it in a way that allows your audience to spend much less time on deciphering it, and much more time on doing something with it.

Today’s Get ‘Er Written Approach Eliminating a theme that wasn’t relevant (in this case, cutting out a rant about bosses and teamwork that was getting in the way).

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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