Why Is Simple Hard: Three Tips From Guy Kawasaki

“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

Simple communication is an underrated art form. But why is simple so hard? What’s the secret to distilling complex ideas into easy communication?

Few understand this better than Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple and currently Chief Evangelist at Canva. We had a chance to speak with Guy in the 1st episode of a new podcast, Think Deeply, Speak Simply sponsored by PREZENTIUM.

Here are three invaluable tips he offered.


Less Is Always More: Cut the Superlatives

Many of us have a tendency to use too many words when communicating. Guy says it best when he notes, “most products and services, they’re always described with a bunch of superfluous, extraneous, and just BS adjectives.”

His advice: cut the superlatives.

The fewer the adjectives the better. Omit words like “paradigm-shifting”, “curb-jumping”, “patent pending”, and “enterprise”. These words are overused, cliché, and unremarkable.

When in doubt, Guy Kawasaki advises to always err on the side of brevity. Simplicity can be difficult and complex, but there is no denying that it is the key to successful communication.


One Noun + One Adjective = The Magic Formula

Guy shares his magic formula for thoughtful, clear communication.

That’s right. Two words are all you need to capture the essence of what you do.

Take Canva, for example. The purpose behind the graphic design company can be boiled down to “Empower People” or “Democratize Design”. IBM even does Canva one better by condensing their core messaging into a single word: “Think”.

A handful of words is all you need. No more, no less. Reject the impulse to over-engineer everything and keep your messaging simple and efficient.


Recognize That Times Are Changing

Communication is evolving alongside state-of-the-art technology. For better or worse, social media, email sequencing, and targeted advertising are transforming the market by the minute.

Just look at podcasting. It’s transformed how consumers absorb content so much that Guy Kawasaki notes he’ll probably never write another book. Podcasts are far more effective, monetizable, producible, and instantly accessible. They keep the creator far more relevant, especially compared to the typical 18-month production time of a book going to market.

Hope these three tips from Guy help you sparkle in your communication. Learn more by catching the complete Guy Kawasaki podcast episode here.

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