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What’s Their Saga In Just 200 Words

Fake News outlets are still in a right old tizz, I see.

“It’s the story that has dominated Donald Trump’s presidency, but it’s complicated.”

So ‘reports’ the BBC.

I forced myself to battle through the tut-tuts and click on.

Driven not by the draw of this particular media outfit’s calibre of journalism (all too often embarrassingly partial) but the headline and construct; The Trump-Russia saga in 200 words.

I half-expected to see them use the line, ‘despite Russia, Trump passed tax rate cuts…’

Compelled to check electronically, their piece clocked in at 199 words. Including intro and sub-headings. (Excluding headline.)

Let’s look at those five compartments. Each having a single paragraph follow, apart from the middle one, which had two;

In summary
Any evidence?
What meetings?
Who else is involved?
And the president?

Let’s leave aside the blatant fact that the actual text given is clunky, misleading and far from a clinically balanced insight.

Unlike the writing, the structure is a clear winner.

There’s many Sales facets to this. Not least the difficulty in pulling off this kind of feat.

Remember the (1657?) adage, “I didn’t have the time to write you a short letter, so wrote a long one instead“? I wish this was applied to many a piece of sales correspondence. The strictures of social media messaging alone are not helping in this vital business skill.

This also brought to mind ideas on getting your point across in a succinct one hundred words. As suggested by Margaret Thatcher and a Reader’s Digest story competition (where I notice the one cited from Lynne Truss was 534 characters in length, almost double the recently expanded tweet capacity).

Then there’s the classic 5 Whys treatment.

Anything that prevents waffling and promotes precision when pitching is to be pursued.

Imagine that you’re trying to generate that all-important empathy and understanding. How do you summarise the prospect plight back to them? The one for which you have the ultimate solution, but haven’t yet earned the unique right to describe, let alone have it accepted.

Can you sum up their saga situation in 200 words, split in just five sections?

Can you craft a one-sentence ‘it’s complicated’ intro, followed by such as; In Summary, Any Evidence, What Specifics, Who’s Involved & The Big Play … ?

What a Prop, first meeting report or workshop ‘opener’ that would make.


end of year update; the Beeb may have found 200 words a touch too tricky for them. As I note that their pair of similar treatments that followed soon after the first ‘addressing’ the “Trump-Russia Saga” – on the “Catalonia crisis” & “North Korea crisis” – were both now “in 300 words”.

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