Political Communication Doesn't Have to Say Everything

by Sophie Thurber (She/Her)

All the words

Political Communication: Brevity! Learn it!

As someone who loves words, let me just say that I know how difficult it is to edit down a painstakingly written tome that’s full of all the knowledge and wisdom you want to share with the world. In political communication every word seems so vital to your message and to other people’s understanding of your issue or campaign. When it comes to communication it is especially important to make your point from the beginning.  

Take a moment to think about what happens to your brain when you look at something that has 30 bullet points and looks like it tells you everything you never bothered to learn about a particular issue.  If you’re like most of the general population, I’m betting that your eyes glaze over a bit, and if you’re super motivated, you might skim the thing before jettisoning it (hopefully in your recycling bin).

Time is a valuable resource especially in political communication, which means that it’s tough to get people to spend theirs on you.  On average, you’ve got about 3 - 5 seconds to catch someone’s attention with your political communication, and even if you do get it, you only have about 20 - 30 more seconds of their attention. That means that if you want to have any hope of making your way into someone’s consciousness, you’ve got to make your point, and you’ve got to make it quickly.

Political communication in brief:

  • Keep your readers in mind – your readers value their time, not your words.
  • Keep it simple – think of what the one or two most important points are for your political communication and leave it at that.
  • Keep it focused – you should be able to explain each point in one or two sentences.

Brevity – there you have it!

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