How do Amazon employees pitch product ideas? Should you use slides when you present? How can you respect your audience’s precious time?
In The Bezos Blueprint, business communication expert Carmine Gallo explains how to improve your communication by internalizing the principles that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos uses in his writing and speaking. We’ve organized these principles into four practical tips for effective communication.
Keep reading if you’re ready to become a better communicator in both writing and speech.
4 Tips for Effective Communication
Gallo analyzed decades’ worth of Bezos’s shareholder letters, speeches, emails, and more to derive four tips for effective communication that anyone can use to become a better writer and speaker.
Tip #1: Keep It Simple
If you want your audience to understand and act on your message, keep it simple. Aim for a high-school reading level by using short sentences and simple words. Write with strong verbs, favor active over passive voice, avoid unnecessary qualifiers, vary your sentence length, and use parallel structure to clarify complex sentences.
Tip #2: Get to the Point
State the most important takeaway up front. Your audience’s time is precious—don’t waste it. Make sure it’s obvious why your point matters to the listener. One way to do this is to organize your idea as a mock press release (this is the format Amazon employees use to pitch new product ideas). Start by explaining the main idea, then show what problem it solves and how. End with hypothetical testimonials from your intended customers or partners.
Tip #3: Tell Stories
Use storytelling to make complex ideas relatable. Condense complex ideas into vivid metaphors. Contextualize data with concrete physical comparisons that make it easier to imagine what a number really means. Consider organizing your message into a three-act narrative that includes setup, challenges, and resolution. Avoid PowerPoint—slides with bullet points and isolated pieces of data lead to sloppy thinking and poor comprehension. Instead, write cohesive memos that explain your ideas more fully.
Tip #4: Repeat and Refine Your Message
Develop a clear purpose that informs everything you do. Once you know your purpose, turn it into a mantra and repeat it relentlessly throughout all of your communication. Your goal is to instill your purpose throughout your organization so that members of the organization internalize it and act in accordance with it at all times.
Also, refine your communication skills through practice. Read widely to improve your writing and leadership. Improve your presentations by using your natural strengths, polishing your message, and practicing your delivery.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Bezos Blueprint summary:
- How to improve your communication by using Jeff Bezos's principles
- Why you should start a project with a press release
- Why you should ban PowerPoint in favor of storytelling