The ‘less is more’ principle
I love the principle of ‘less is more’ – it applies in so many walks of life (a bit like the 80:20 rule) and certainly has a place in business. Take presentations, for example. What works best – a 40 minute long Powerpoint slide-fest with 10 bullets-per-page or a well crafted story backed up with some powerful images? Well if you’re not sure, think back to how you felt when you sat through a previous version of either. So many presenters think that by cramming in more they’ll really, really get their point across. But the audience glazes over and takes nothing in. Far better to narrow the focus to simple themes delivered in an engaging manner.
In sales it’s very tempting to pile on the reasons why someone should buy, but for the prospect it becomes overwhelming and they begin to switch off. It’s preferable to give them only so much and get better at gauging their buying temperature.
You see ‘less is more’ in the movies too. Horror films are much scarier when you can’t see the monster – when it finally appears it’s a bit of a disappointment (think Alien and Jaws). When the director leaves something to our imagination we become more engaged. Minimalist wins vs over-the-top. Remember the final scene in Lost in Translation…Bill Murray whispers something to Scarlet Johansson, but we don’t know what it is. In the final scene of Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman is finally reunited with Tim Robbins on a deserted beach, but the camera pulls way back as they approach each other – no voyeuristic close up of their embrace, but a moving moment that’s left to the imagination.
Embrace the ‘less is more’ principle. Go for quality over quantity. As Red (Freeman) says in Shawshank, “Some things are better left unsaid.”