You would think that a society consumed with 140 characters and all types of texting abbreviations would have mastered succinct-ness.

Not so much.

Ever sat through PowerPoint presentations  that drone on and on and on?  Or suffered through meetings that, somehow, misplaced their agenda?   And waded through mounds of non-legal documents to try to uncover the one or two salient points needed to move the project ahead?

It is difficult, we admit, to filter all the information from our inboxes, our business conversations, our RSSs, our regular subscriptions, our podcasts and vodcasts (not to mention the drive-time radio) into one compelling message or outcome for our latest work project. 

Numbers are proof of our lives’ (and our thinking) complexity.   For instance:  Every two days more information is created than between the dawn of civilization and 2003.  

When that happens to us, we resort to diagrams and drawing.  And dumping our minds and insights on one (and only one) 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.  Now, we’re not talking “drawing” in terms of Michelangelo, but rather in the use of shapes and figures similar to what we did in grade school.  In fact, anyone – even without a design bone in their pinky – can produce a one-pager.

Where to start:  Ask yourself about the end of your project, what you want to accomplish.  The results, in short.  Begin with a picture (in stick figures, if you’d like) of the “end.”  What will the company do differently?  Your team?  Other audiences?  What will the impact(s) be on all these varying groups and sectors and industries?

Those musings, we suspect, can be captured in a few bullets or phrases. 

Then, track back to the beginning and plot your progress. Like Monopoly, you’ll need to begin at “go,” what consultants call “current state.”   Select circles or arrows or any two-sided shape to show the two or three previous phases that need to occur before arriving at desired results.  Insert, again, a few bullet points for each shape.  Expect to explain only enough to have readers/viewers/listeners understand your journey.  And applaud.