Think like an editor

“Don’t be a person of too many words and too many deeds”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 3.5

Marcus, with a fist over all of Rome, tells us to be selective with our words and our actions. When I read this, I could not help but think of the business and marketing implications.

Our job as marketers is to come up with new ideas. It is also to say no to ideas — and to prune down good ones to only the best, most valuable nugget. We need to, at times, strike the word and from our vocabularly.

And is indecisive. It signifies a lack of focus; superfluous “value”.

I was once editing a sales deck with a 3rd party consultant. Despite the negative rap of the consulting industry, there is something valuable about fresh eyes examining your problem.

The deck was probably 37 slides long. Thinking back, it sounds ridiculous. But that was the case. He said cut this down to 7 slides, including a title and a closing.

I about laughed him off the phone. In hindsight, it was one of the most important exercises I’ve ever done.

By rearranging your expectations of what the deck needed to be, I quickly realized how much crap was in their. So much fluff. So much content just to fill space.

I wasn’t just updating my expectations about the deck, however. I was shifting my job.

In designing the 37-slide behemoth, I was a creator. My job was to make something of nothing.

I would quickly interject that this is important, like I said at the beginning. We have to create.

But in slimming down the deck, I wasn’t playing the creator anymore.

I was an editor. My job was to remove, to prune. I was skipping slides like a mad-man.

It felt good.

In then end, we had 30 fewer slides, and a 10X better deck. It was invigorating.

These opportunities are everywhere. Big and small. And certainly not just in marketing. I’d encourage you to pick one start with. What can you slim down? What fat can you trim? Where you can you say or show more with less.

That’s all for now.

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