Book Review – Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less by Joseph McCormack


In today’s information age with the flood of messages reaching us every day via Social Media & Digital sources, we have learned to be selective and short in what we consume. Indeed, I have heard it said that today we should be short in our business messaging, and long in our personal, while many businesses and business people are doing the opposite.

To cut through, we need to cut down our corporate communications and make our marketing and business messages brief. This is the subject of the book, “Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less by Joseph McCormack”.

Brief is well structured with it’s content presentation designed to allow the reader to engage with as much depth as they wish. It makes the point that people are busy with an increase in the amount of information stimuli while at the same time our ability to sustain attention has shortened, this is why we need to get in early with our message.

Brevity is hard because our brain has other ideas, it likes to interfere with thoughts of it’s own. McCormack understands this and presses on the imperative for preparation, respect for the listener, and discipline in staying on track.

The book provides tips and techniques in how this can be achieved in all areas of business including, meetings, sales, social media marketing, and presentations. It also deals with contexts such as interviews, conveying good and bad news, and in negotiations.

It has a great summary at the end which lists each key points for each chapter, and provides a number of tools that can be implemented in helping structure content for various cases. These are great tools to help you structure your content to ensure it is punchy.
The main messages I took away from it are:

  • to remove corporate speak,
  • use images to support your message instead of blocks of text, and
  • use story telling to be compelling and interesting to get your messages to mean something.

The book ticked quite a few boxes with me, it inspired a recent blog post. We believe in the power of simplicity, in design as well as in function, and marketing and communications content. Contact us to arrange a review of your online communications with the aim of being more hit and less miss.

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