Communicate better by communicating simply

Communicate better

Learn how to design messages that actually work with Simply Put by Ben Guttmann, available now

Simply Put by Ben Guttmann
Part of the Content Marketing Institute's “Ultimate Book List” • Get your copy today:

Think about the most powerful messages you’ve ever heard. Picture the most life-changing piece of advice passed down from a mentor, the most stirring call to action in a stump speech, or the stickiest slogan ever splashed across a commercial.

We’ve all been advised to “not judge a book by its cover,” to “not count your chickens before they hatch,” and that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” My personal favorite piece of received wisdom, essentially a piece of meta-advice, is “all advice is autobiographical.”

Maybe for you what comes to mind is something political, like Patrick Henry’s revolutionary “Give me liberty, or give me death!” or more recently, Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can.” In the halls of great marketing, you might remember Apple’s “Think Different,” Nike’s “Just Do It,” or Disney’s “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

Now think for a second about the other few thousand messages you heard in the past 24 hours – things told to you, like ads, warnings, instructions, or even things you’ve sought out, like articles, social media posts, or stories. How many of them do you actually remember? How many of the things that you’ve said do other people remember? Do they actually even hear what you’re saying?

Regardless if these messages are trying to get your dollars, your votes, or just your thoughts, the most effective messages all share one thing. They are simple.

Simple ideas stick. Simple messages win.

Available now from Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win — and How to Design Them is an instruction manual for helping us get simple. Sign up below to learn more, and order your copy today.

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“Simple can be hard. But Ben’s lucid and valuable book makes it much easier.”

William Ury
New York Times Best-Selling Co-Author of Getting to Yes and Getting to Yes With Yourself

“If you need to communicate your work more effectively, this is your book.”

Michael Ventura
Author of Applied Empathy and Former Founder & CEO of Sub Rosa

“These lessons teach us how to become more impactful and influential communicators.”

David Perlmutter, MD
6X New York Times Best-Selling Author of Grain Brain, Brain Wash, and other titles

Simply Put is a brilliant and necessary roadmap for all business leaders.”

Jessalin Lam
Co-Author of The Visibility Mindset and Co-Founder of Asians in Advertising

“Clear and simple wins. Here’s how to get there.”

David S. Pottruck
Former CEO of Charles Schwab and New York Times Best-Selling Author of Stacking the Deck

“An excellent read. Buy it. Learn from it. Adopt it. It’s that simple.”

Martin Lindstrom
New York Times Best-Selling Author of Buyology and Small Data

“Every entrepreneur and brand leader should read this book.”

Alexandra Watkins
Author of Hello, My Name Is Awesome and Founder of Eat My Words

Want to read more praise?
“Ben has an uncanny ability to distill the complex into clear-eyed, empathic communication. With Simply Put, he helps us to connect with ideas in ways that are at once practical and energizing. If you need to communicate your work more effectively, this is your book.”

Michael Ventura
Author of Applied Empathy
Former Founder & CEO of Sub Rosa

Simply Put gifts us new approaches and techniques to amplify our voices and share our ideas. How we craft our message is fundamental to our success, and these lessons make us more impactful and influential communicators.”

David Perlmutter, MD
6X New York Times Best-Selling Author of Grain Brain, Brain Wash, and other titles

Simply Put is a brilliant roadmap for all business leaders to learn how to become more effective communicators. Ben's work invites you to see things differently and empower you to craft clear messages.”

Jessalin Lam
Co-Author of The Visibility Mindset and
Co-Founder of Asians in Advertising

The 5 principles of simple messages

Effective communication is easily perceived, understood, and acted upon. Across multiple disciplines, research shows us that there are five principles that get us there. These attributes are what separate the messages that work from those that don't. This is the playbook outlined in Simply Put:

Beneficial

Simple messages are beneficial. These messages prioritize the receiver. They focus on the receiver’s goals, needs, and desires. What’s in it for them? How does your message help them? Just as the sender of a letter must pay the postage, the sender of a message is responsible for carrying the real and figurative cost of communication.

Focused

Simple messages are focused. Everything is there to get the point across, and anything else that’s a distraction is vigorously stripped away. Empty platitudes, useless fluff, anything that isn’t a necessary component of your story is another place to lose the receiver. You have only a small window to be heard, so don’t waste it.

Salient

Simple messages are salient. They stand out, stick up, or otherwise contrast with the environment. In a noisy world, you need to be conspicuously distinct to have any hope of being seen or heard. The brain readily adapts to repeated stimuli, blurring muddy sameness into the background, and we are predisposed to things that don’t.

Empathetic

Simple messages are empathetic. They show understanding of, and compassion with, the receiver. Empathetic messages speak the receiver’s language and exhibit insight into their reality. They don’t require specialized lingo, a degree’s worth of prior knowledge, or a dictionary full of esoteric words.

Minimal

Simple messages are minimal. They contain everything they need, but only what they need. Minimal messages require the fewest number of dependencies—and thus have the fewest possible points of failure. While minimal generally correlates with short length, that doesn’t mean shortness is the goal. Instead, the attribute that minimal measures is friction.

Ben Guttmann

Ben Guttmann is a marketing and communications expert and author of Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win — and How to Design Them. He’s an experienced marketing executive and educator on a mission to get leaders to more effectively connect by simplifying their message.

Ben is former co-founder and managing partner at Digital Natives Group, an award-winning agency that worked with the NFL, I Love NY, Comcast NBCUniversal, Hachette Book Group, The Nature Conservancy, and other major clients. Currently, Ben teaches digital marketing at Baruch College in New York City and consults with a range of thought leaders, venture-backed startups, and other brands.

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Download the introduction, for free

Simply Put is for anybody who wants to communicate with clarity. If that sounds like you, then drop your email below to download the beginning of the book – on the house. When you like it, there's more where that came from.

Podcast Appearances

I love sharing my work, and over the past few years I've been fortunate to have joined dozens of talented podcast hosts to talk about my book and other topics on their shows. Check out the list and give some of them a listen.

🌎 The Going Everywhere Tour 🌍

For a limited time, I’m opening up my calendar and going everywhere that will have me. If you’re interested in booking a speaker for your organization or event, check out the details of this experiment. All you need to do it buy a few books.

“Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Steve Jobs

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