Give Me Tap was described by the Sunday Times as a ‘bottle that can be refilled with tap water free of charge at participating restaurants’ erm…like any other bottle or those old fashioned things we used to call a glass? Turns out it was a more innovative and enterprising product as the BBC explained:

“Give Me Tap is a business that enables people to fill a special aluminium bottle with water at eateries across Manchester.

The 25-year-old founder will then put 70% of his profits into providing clean water for those who desperately need it in Africa.”

Ah, now I see the point – reduce the number of plastic bottles going to landfill, increase footfall for participating cafes/restaurants and raise money for charity.  But why didn’t The Sunday Times just say that?

Because in reducing the piece down to a 90-word news nugget it was stripped of meaning.

Here’s how to be concise but still communicate clearly:

  1. Keep it simple – but never simplistic.
  2. For short pieces agree on a single message. What is the one piece of information you want the reader to know? Make your point and stick to it. You can afford to introduce more messages in longer articles where the structure will keep you from digression, departures and deviations. Otherwise known as waffling.
  3. Communicate in a way that can be understood the first time round. You can’t expect a reader to go back and re-read your piece just because it’s short and won’t take them long to do so. When someone pays attention we must reward them with content that adds value however long it takes to read – that includes everything from magazine features to a blog post, tweet or status update. Otherwise we’re wasting their time.
  4. No  exceptions.

But what do I know? Tell me your thoughts.