The Power of Simplicity
SIMPLICITY. It is really at the core of what we do in public affairs and public relations on a day-to-day basis: communicate messages that are critical to clients’ best interests in a way that resonates with target audiences so that they can accept and support those messages with ease.
Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” That’s quite a statement from someone most consider to be the smartest man who ever lived. Is there any doubt that he could talk at a level that would make him almost impossible to understand on a variety of subjects? But in recognizing the need to explain things in a way that almost everyone understands, Einstein was able to relate to everyone – not just the scientific community. Whether he was talking about E=mc2 or the Theory of Relativity, he was able to connect with the common man by explaining these complex theories in a way that everyone could have basic understanding of them.
Steve Jobs is another good example. When Apple came out with the iPhone, people already had cell phones. They even had Smartphones that enabled them to get e-mail wherever they were and mp3 players that let them listen to music on the go. But Steve Jobs took all of these functions, placed them into one device, and made it SO simple that a child could operate it. By taking complex technologies and making them consumable by the average person, he was able to change the ways in which we send and receive information for the foreseeable future.
What does this mean for the rest of us? As we all know, simplicity can be hard to achieve, and many organizations find it difficult to communicate effectively on their own behalf. Whether it’s because they are overly-technical in communicating their message or because they lack the public’s trust in discussing their issues credibly, organizations need help to connect with the person on the street. The objective is to take clients’ messages, however complex, and make them easy to understand. And the number of ways in which those messages can be delivered include everything from videos, webinars, forums, issue briefs and op-eds to social networking mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others.
Where we run the risk of getting in trouble is when we lose sight of keeping it simple. The moment we make a topic too difficult to digest for everyone, we fail.
In everything you do, keep it simple. Writing an e-mail, making a phone call, updating a website. Doing so will not only make things easier on you, but it is THE most important thing you can do to bring value to your clients.