The average number of characters for a word in the English language is five. Twitter, an online social networking and microblogging service, allows a maximum of one hundred and forty characters per tweet. With some basic arithmetic, we conclude that one would have only twenty-eight words to convey a message to his or her projected audience (spaces excluded).
Are you able to effectively communicate your point in 140 characters or less? When it comes to formulating a tweet, striking up a conversation, or writing a blog post, we should seek to creatively convey our message while speaking with intentionality and purpose. Let’s discuss some ways to get your point across while considering your audience and seeking to enrich the lives of those around you.
1. Say what you mean to say.
Did anyone else start singing John Mayer’s song in his or her head? I know you did. I did too. Mayer’s lyrics are “say what you need to say”, but we are going to discuss saying what you mean to say.
Have you ever spoken without thinking it through? I think many of us could share a story where we blurted something out without really mulling it over. If we were to think about formulating our responses to others in a Twitter type format, limiting our words, but getting creative and selective with our word choices, we would become more intentional about how we spoke to others. Not only does this rule apply when speaking in person, but it can also be applied when using email, Twitter, Facebook, et cetera.
2. Write, trim, repeat.
Do you ever feel like 140 characters is never enough? I know I sure do. What’s even worse is when you are only one character over. There you sit in disbelief, as your screen reads “-1” in the tweet box. “How could this be? This tweet was going to be so epic. I can’t remove one character; it’s just not possible!” you say, as you cry inside.
It is possible. Try writing out your tweet even if you go over the character limit. Then delete it. Then write it again this time taking out words that are not absolutely necessary such as “that” or “which”. Get to the point and don’t over think it. Get creative! Leave out details that are not necessarily needed. People want the meat of the story. They will be fine without the small details.
3. Avoid word vomiting.
I was reading an article by Jeff Goins that said, “If you can’t say it in 3 minutes, you can’t say it in 30.”
Whether you apply this theory to speaking or writing, less is more. If you were to look back on your past writings or public speaking endeavors, can you find areas where you could have been more effective with less words? In my opinion, this practice stretches creativity significantly.
4. Consider your audience.
A lot of times we will speak and not take into consideration who may be around us or who may be following us on one of the many social media networks. It is very important to consider your audience and how they will interpret your message. Ask yourself, “What message am I trying to convey? Who am I trying to reach?” Once you have an audience, ask yourself if you are writing, speaking or tweeting for your audience or for yourself. Are you speaking for personal gain or to enrich the lives of those around you?
“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.” – Bruce Springsteen
How will you speak with purpose this week? Will you speak or write to enrich the lives of others or will it be for personal gain?