The Manifesto

Jerry Seinfeld“There is no such thing as an attention span. There is only the quality of what you are viewing. This whole idea of an attention span is, I think, a misnomer. People have an infinite attention span if you are entertaining them.”
Jerry Seinfeld


Bernard Kilgore“The easiest thing in the world for a reader to do is to stop reading.”
The late, great, Bernard “Barney” Kilgore, who became Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal in 1941. WSJ recalled how, “on the morning after Pearl Harbor, other newspapers recounted the facts already known to all the day before through radio. The Journal’s page-one story instead began, ‘War with Japan means industrial revolution in the United States.’” Kilgore grew WSJ’s circulation from 33,000 in the 1940s to one million by the 1960s, “by adapting the newspaper to a role reflecting how people used different media for news.”

Motown Records“If you were down to your last dollar, would you spend it on this record, or would you buy a sandwich?”
Standard question by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, to the panel he would assemble to audition songs recorded at the Hitsville USA studios in Detroit, back when his label dominated the charts in the 1960s.

Thus, The Manifesto…

Attention is fragile. People are pacing in front of the microwave oven! It’s never been more important to distill what-you’re-trying-to-say into what-we-now-call “an elevator speech.” Accordingly…

As the teacher asked in Public Speaking 101, “At the end of the speech, what one thing do you want ’em to remember? Prep accordingly.

Make Every Word COUNTThis sign, on the newsroom wall at WPTF Radio in Raleigh NC reminds newscasters that less is more.
Ernest Hemingway, himself a news guy, said “write it like a telegram.” Adjectives can be lazy.


“YOU” and “YOUR” are powerful, no-less-than magic words.

Are you talking to the right person? Only negotiate with people who have authority. And learn to identify “sneezers” (influentials, opinion leaders). When they speak, others “catch it.” And your seeming-to-BE a sneezer will enhance your own communication.

That said…

Talk with everybody. When you interact with strangers, have “a moment.” Converse with people who wait on you. Smile at people in the elevator. You never know what fortunate “small world” story you could end up a-part-of.

Negotiation is the ultimate communication. The answer “no” is a break-even, so ask.

Body language can speak louder than the spoken word. It helps to sound like you know what you’re talking about, and look-like-you-belong where-you’re-trying-to-go…perhaps without credentials? 😉

Don’t break-into jail. As lawyers say: “Never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer.” And, as my attorney put it: “If you’re asked ‘Are you wearing a watch?’ say ‘Yes.’ Don’t tell ’em what-time-it-is.”

Please don't wake the manager.Self-deprecating humor underlines the no-frills value message at New England’s Building 19 closeout store chain. Fun is fine.
Another example: Rather than “No Trespassing,” a land owner in my town posted a sign that reads “Deer Tick Breeding Farm.”

The media is neither your friend nor your enemy. They don’t know as much about your story as you do, and it’s not their job to make-the-point-you-want-to-make…and recent draconian staffing cutbacks make it easier than ever to “do their homework for them.”

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