What should I know in 20 seconds?

This is my favorite question when someone hands me something to proofread.

Flyer for an upcoming event? Ad for a renewal campaign? Your updated resume? Pitch for a new policy change or capital project?

What should be in my brain within 20 seconds of the experience with the thing you made and put in front of me?

Don’t try to do everything. You likely don’t even have “everything” together at this point. Pick one or two things and try to make those stick.

Someone once handed me their resume and after looking at it for a full minute I asked them this question. They told me they wanted me to know they were a great marketer. I turned the paper to them and asked how I would know that. What about the format, the font size, or the word choice, would leave me with the impression, quickly, that this was a person with decent marketing chops?

The thing could have actual rhinestones on it. It could be in 72 pt type. It could be printed on a pizza box. The form and the format should exist to serve the purpose of the message and the purpose remains the same:

What Should I KNOW in 20 seconds?

What do you want us to know? There’s not nearly as much time as you think.



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