Do you know the KISS method? “Keep It Simple Stupid!” I had an instructor in college who made it nicer: Keep It Simple STUDENT. Either way the idea is clear… and simple.
Right now I’m looking at a post-it note on my computer monitor which simply says: SIMPLIFY!
Why all this talk about simplification? I have been to a lot of podcasts sites and, recently attended the Internet Prophet conference in Chicago, where the idea of keeping things simple is mentioned over and over. One of the speakers at the conference mentioned that her husband had given her a “completed” manuscript of his latest book for her to read. She got about half way through and said, “you need to cut this down! Take out about HALF!” Wow, can you imagine hearing that? The good news was that if he did as she said, he was probably going to get two books out of what would have only been one.
The point is people want simple. It’s not that they are simple minded. To the contrary, people are busy trying to take in as much as possible, and only want what is necessary. We know we live in an ever-speeding-up fast paced world. So let’s not bog people down.
I say this to myself as much as to anyone reading this article! I want to tell people everything. I teach courses at the local community college in web publishing, Dreamweaver, Photoshop for the web, and most recently HTML. I want to make sure they get their money’s (and time’s) worth so I core dump (geeky computer reference, but you probably get the meaning) on them with handouts and information. But what really happens is they get confused, overwhelmed and frustrated. Who needs that? Even more to the point, who wants to pay for that in time and money?!
So I, myself, am trying to simplify – my writing, my teaching, and how I communicate with my clients. Yes, even with clients you can give too much information! I’ve seen that glazed over look and even almost a tear. I even wrote about the glazed over look in a previous article called, “What’s in a Word?” When I am working with clients they are paying me good, hard earned money for my services. Sometimes I explain too much about what I am doing. They don’t get it and sometimes they just don’t want to hear about it. Just do it! Make it work. Make it look good. Make it show up in search engines. Don’t care how, just do.
And then even in my invoices, I want to list all my action steps, and this is probably still a good thing. I tell the client it just needs to be there, but they don’t have to understand it all. And of course I would answer questions about any of it, but not one client has EVER asked me about it. They don’t have time and they don’t care about the technical stuff. Just do!
So how can you simplify your work? How can you simplify, and perhaps an even better term, clarify, your services to your clients/customers. Make it super easy for them to use your service or purchase your product. Give simple steps – be clear and concise. Are your marketing materials clear and easy to read? Does your website make sense – is there a clear call to action? And even visually speaking, is there enough white space (breathing room where the content isn’t too busy). Take some time today and think about one thing you can simplify for your customers. And then enjoy the happy reaction you get!