The only way is Essex University: keep it simple, stupid

Delighted to learn that ‘extreme tweeting‘ or microfiction can improve reading and writing skills, according to experts at Essex University…amongst undergraduates, at least!

Project leaders at the university have said that using something called microfiction can increase a student’s ability to write concisely and read critically.  Conveying ideas in just 10 words or less can help someone get to grips with a complex text as they are required to extract the main ideas and condense them into few words.  Anyone trying to decipher the small print in their mortgage agreement may dispute this, but it does seem to work!

An alternative term for flash fiction, which is normally a story of around 250 words, microfiction can more accurately be described as postcard or stamp fiction – for those of us who can remember the good old days of ‘wish you were here’ on a 5×4.

Ernest Hemingway’s classic story ‘For sale. Baby shoes. Never used.’ manages to communicate more in six words than many politicians do in a life time.  But then Hemingway knew what he was talking about!

Apparently the most studied example of ‘creative concision’, as the Essex bods like to call it, is Augusto Monterroso’s ‘The Dinosaur’: ‘Upon waking, the dinosaur was still there.’  Insert ‘discuss’ at the end and you’ve got a potential thesis!

Whilst the microfiction project may be aimed at university students, we can all learn from the art of concision.  Working on the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid), the best messages in business (and life) are short and simple, easy to understand and straightforward.

‘Less is more’ according to Mies Van der Roches, whilst Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’  And who are we to argue with the Renaissance Man?

Economy (of words) is the order of the day.  Combine this with clarity and control and you’re on to a communication winner.  It’s the Essex way!

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