Technology has transformed our world and made us more efficient in many ways. However, people are now busier and more distracted than ever. Cell phones, iPads, email, instant messaging, and social media are all mediums that compete for our attention and take us away from the task at hand. Our brains have developed the ability to function in “sound bites” to avoid deep thinking, reading, and reflection. I call this phenomenon “the Google Brain”. While the internet and Google supply an endless amount of information, our brains are being re-wired to view most information as trivial.
Our brains have learned to rely on the Internet as our primary information source, rather than our own memory. When everything is available online, your brain no longer needs to store that information. If you can’t recall something, you just Google it. Today’s Google Brain has caused technology to become like an external hard drive, replacing our brains and other people, making us even more dependent on our devices. When your brain grows accustomed to frequent Internet use, it recognizes that most of the information is trivial and should be stored in short-term memory.
So how do we reach people who don’t want to think or read? Here’s a simple, five-step process.
- Write a punchy, visual headline or subject line that’s relevant to your reader’s hopes and fears
- State your message clearly in the first paragraph
- Use bold sub-headings to label the points that sell your idea
- Cut the fluff and write using a conversation tone
- Before you hit send, ensure that it reads like a story
Conclusion: People are busy and distracted, and they need you to be clear and concise. If you force them to read through irrelevant details, they’re going to move on to something else within a few seconds.
Today’s post is based on my book Buried Alive: Digging your way out to clear communication.