Soundbites: The Long and Short of It

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Bill Clinton was a great communicator. A greater communicator, I think, than THE Great Communicator. As we all well know, he could talk his way into and out of just about anything!

But he was not what you would call a concise speaker. His State of the Union addresses always clocked in at over an hour, while Reagan kept his to around 40 minutes. If you were looking for short answers, Clinton was not your guy.

One theory I recall reading was that he couldn’t help but see the interconnectedness of everything.┬áSo if you asked him a question about poverty, he would weave a thread to the state of education, the rise of teenage pregnancy, the role of the church and other institutions, the viability of the social safety net and a bunch of other things.

Not to compare myself to Bill Clinton, but … I am JUST LIKE HIM!

Actually, I’ve never been a short-form guy. I struggle over clever titles, catchy slogans and pithy soundbites. And names. My teddy bear, which I still have from when I was 3-years-old, is named Teddy.

I have a few in the book, like “It’s important to over-communicate because people tend to under-listen” and “Silence is not a good alternative. Like nature, gossip abhors a vacuum.” But those are the exceptions.

So when somebody online the other day asked me why I wrote the book, I gave a five-point, 360-word answer. (Yes, I counted.)

That is not an answer that will work on TV or radio. Hell, it barely works in writing.

As I go out and do interviews and speeches, I’m going to really need to sharpen things and discipline myself. As for why I wrote the book, I will probably boil it down to something like this:

“After years and years of seeing bland, ordinary, uninspiring websites, annual reports, videos and speeches, I wanted to help people express themselves more creatively and effectively.”

Even that’s not very good. It’s short, at least. It has that going for it. But that’s about all it has going for it.