Your Content: Less Is More

Has this ever happened to you?

I just finished removing several thousand words of content on the Goss Consulting website. The lessons I learned may help you. Please read on.

When ten words will do, I write ten thousand words. I don't want you to miss anything. I figure the more information I share with you, the richer you'll be.

My circle of advisors all said the same thing in their own ways: "Are you crazy. Just offer what they're looking for. If they want more, they'll tell you."

Information Overload Hurts

I remember when I worked for Otis Elevator Company in San Francisco. As a management trainee, I was assigned to lead a role-play sales presentation to the physical plant department at Stanford University. The goal: learn how we could re-sell the value of Otis maintenance to win the renewal of Stanford's five-year elevator maintenance contract.

I assembled a team of six people. We made 8-millimeter home movies, showing accidents that might be caused by lack of maintenance from a cut-rate elevator firm. I prepared talking points for role-play representatives of the sales, engineering and service departments. We were ready.

We held the role-play at a restaurant near Fisherman's Wharf. We expected the presentation to last thirty minutes. We had so much content that it lasted over two hours. One "customer" walked out. The others became glassy-eyed. They looked like they were in a coma. 

Back at the office, our presentation team did a post-mortem. Everyone agreed that our content was accurate and comprehensive...a little too comprehensive.

The lesson learned: offer just enough information to address the audience members' concerns, ask for agreement, and end the meeting. We missed that one.

Less Information Causes More Agreement

Fast forward to today. My now-missing and hidden web pages are accurate and comprehensive. But they don't add to your experience, so they've been removed from sight.

What about your content? What content have you removed, so you can communicate better?