Two speakers I admire for their pithiness are Patricia Fripp and Craig Valentine. In fact, Craig has named pithiness – A Foundational Phrase. A foundational phrase is 10 words or less that encapsulates your topic. For example, “Don’t get ready! Stay Ready!”
Valentine and Fripp come up with these short, sweet phrases all the time. I, on the other hand, struggle to come up with just one.
Today, I had a eureka moment. Today I cracked the code. Today, I found a tool that helped me to be short sweet and pithy. And it is a tool that you can use as well, to edit your writing and speeches.
As you ready? Here it is.
Some of you are disappointed. Think about using twitter in a different way. Use it as a editing tool. When you really need to get to the core of a message in a concise pithy way – Twitter is the tool. (Check it out! I just did it! Get it?! “Twitter is the tool.”)
For example, I’m reading a book by Jennice Vilhauer Phd, (2014-09-15). Vilhauer PhD, Jennice (2014-09-15). Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life (Future Directed Therapy) (Kindle Locations 554-559). New World Library. Kindle Edition.
I wanted to tweet the following:
“I’m reading this great book! It’s called, Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life (Future Directed Therapy) by Jennice Vilhauer PhD.
What you need to do is learn how to distinguish discomfort from distress. Any time you step outside your comfort zone and do something new, you will experience some type of discomfort — that is the very definition of being outside the comfort zone. The good news, however, is that if it is just normal discomfort, and you can tolerate staying outside your comfort zone, you will eventually become comfortable in the new space, and your comfort zone will have expanded. In essence, your comfort zone will follow you, and each time you step outside it and tolerate the initial discomfort of the new space, you give your comfort zone an opportunity to grow. A healthy level of discomfort is a form of anticipatory anxiety, which may even improve your ability to perform many activities. Discomfort should feel tolerable. When you are feeling discomfort, your chosen activity should still feel exciting and pleasurable to you. Anxiety becomes a problem, however, and creates distress when it starts to feel overwhelming and impairs your ability to function.
Obviously this was too long to tweet. It was 208 words; 1265 characters. I needed to get it down to the core message.
Here is my actual tweet:
Amazing book-Think Forward to Thrive @JenniceVilhauer -Distinguish discomfort from distress. Healthy discomfort improves performance!
14 words – a 208% reduction in words.
134 characters. a 1000% + reduction in characters!
Distinguish discomfort from distress. This is short, pithy and the alliteration is a bonus.
Now it’s your turn. Test this theory on some of your content. Try it on an article, story, or joke. It will undoubtedly be better. Better yet, share this article with someone who can benefit from it. Comment too, I want to hear your thoughts and results.