Google Search Site search Web search  
Jobs in PR
Career Guides
Toolkit: How to PR
Desk References
Media Relations
Crisis Management
Basics of PR
International PR
Professional Orgs
Wired PR
Steven R. Van Hook
All Subjects

Time to Sweeten Up the K*I*S*S Rule
Keep it simple, honeybunch.
 Related Resources
 Basics of PR
 Media Relations
 Jobs in PR
 PR Toolkit
 Lots More PR Articles

 by Pari Noskin Taichert
Bad Girls Press

Pari Noskin TaichertWords are great. I love 'em. But when they're misused, abused and reduced to gobbledygook, well, I just want to break down and cry.

When it comes to PR and Marketing, you'd better have your verbal act together. Words are one of your primary tools for communication.  Today, let's look at those squiggles and see how to make them work better for us.

A quick reminder:

  • Messages are what you've got to say and how you say it. 

  • Audiences are the people you say it to.

The following rules apply whether you're composing an advertisement, press release, sales letter, flier or product tag line.  They're also helpful in the spoken realm of interviews, customer presentations, sales pitches and speeches.

1. If you've got something to say, say it.

We've all read paragraphs that could have been cut to a sentence.  And we've sat with someone who can't get to the point.  First our brains fall asleep, then our legs.  By the time the writer or speaker gets to the meat of the matter, we're planning our 81st birthday bash.  Don't lose your audiences by falling in love with your words or the lilt of your own voice.

2. Simple is smart, Pt. 1

I'd like to meet the nincompoop who first decided the longer and more pompous the words he used, the more intelligent he sounded. I'd sheath his pen and duct-tape his mouth.  Then I'd force him to listen to haiku until he realized small, direct words have big meanings.

It's a shame simple declarative sentences are often shunned in favor of frippery.  But it's easy to understand how it happens. You think losing weight is difficult?  Try trimming your precious verbiage.  Usually when a person embraces the passive voice, uses 25 words in favor of 10, and chooses "utilize" over "use," it's not a display of intelligence. It's evidence of a small ego yearning to be big. Professors may want erudite term papers; customers don't.

3. Simple is smart, Pt. 2

The simpler the message, the easier it's understood.  The easier it's understood, the better it works for you.  The better it works for you, the more money you make.  The more money you make, the bigger castle you can buy.  The bigger castle you buy, the more popular you'll be. You'll get scads of babes or hunks.  Your life will be perfect.  Your legacy will live on in the minds of adoring customers for centuries to come.

You get the picture.

I subscribe to the two R's in communication with words:

Use your words sparingly.  Too much of a good thing can be lethal.

Have respect for your audience's time and intelligence. Express your ideas with care.  While words may be in endless supply, their meaning is enhanced with brevity.

Pari Noskin Taichert has worked in PR for eons.  Of course, she considers waitressing, selling textbooks, and belly dancing part of her PR experience. Her more traditional clients have included corporations, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, writers and artists.

More Articles  |  Submit Your Article  |  PR Subjects

About Public Relations Homepage

Contact Us