Sep 22, 2022 - Economy

Our secret sauce for better communication

Illustration of a coffee mug with the Axios logo with steam forming a thought bubble

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Our new book, "Smart Brevity," lays out what the data, science — and our own experience — show about how to be heard on what matters most to you.

Why it matters: We see, up close, how many people and organizations are blowing the chance to retool their communications for this era of distraction.

  • Smart Brevity is the art of speaking and writing more efficiently and effectively.
  • It's how I write Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on wellness and leadership tips and tricks, lead our people, and run our company. It works — and can be taught. Our book teaches it, piece by piece, in a quick, 100-minute read.

We didn't write this for journalists (outside of Axios). In fact, most of them will probably hate it — it argues they should stop being long-winded and meandering.

  • Instead, it's for students, teachers, workers and leaders — anyone struggling to be heard in these noisy times.

If you think I'm nuts, let these stats soak in:

  1. The University of Maryland did extensive studies of how people read on social media, in school and in business — and found we spend 26 seconds, on average, on things we choose to read!
  2. We check our phones an average of 260+ times each day, according to a study. If you're shaking your head, I dare you to count your own glances.
  3. Most of what you share on social media, you didn't even read, according to our internal data at Axios. Think about that: We see a photo or headline — and get such a dopamine jolt that we just hit "share" like mindless lemmings.
  4. Gallup found that 70% of employees want shorter communications at work.

Despite all that, most people in schools, companies and other organizations communicate like it's 1990 — when people had more time and fewer choices.

Reality check: Most people don't — and won't — read most of what you write (if any of it). It's true for you, for me, for everyone.

  • But you can vastly increase your chances of being read or heard if you adapt — fast.

📦 If you enjoy getting Axios for free, please order "Smart Brevity" here.

  • All the proceeds go to the Axios Fellowship Program, which funds yearlong, paid positions in our newsroom for early-career journalists from underrepresented backgrounds.
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