Communications 3/27/2012

It’s All in the K.I.S.S.

Keep It Short and Simple (K.I.S.S.)
Attention spans are shrinking by the minute. Long gone are the days of leisurely reading something cover to cover. Today, you’ve got a millisecond to grab your audience. Then, if you’re lucky, another second to get them reading. That’s why K.I.S.S. is important.

Tips for keeping it short and simple…
Think USA Today not Wall Street Journal. Don’t be a novelist. Use bite size pieces of information. Subheads help break up long copy.

Omit needless words. If readers have to diagram sentences to figure out what you’re saying, you’ve failed. Aim for 14 words per sentence.

Avoid third person (employee, retiree, he and she). Write directly to your audience by using “you” and “your” instead.

Use active language. Passive writing confuses readers and weakens the message, especially if giving direction. (In active language, the actor comes before the action.)
PASSIVE: SPDs were distributed by the benefits department on January 1.
ACTIVE: The benefits department distributed SPDs on January 1.
PASSIVE: Your biometrics should be measured every year.
ACTIVE: (Implied you) Measure your biometrics every year.

Do your communications pass the K.I.S.S. test?