Jeremy Côté

Clutter and Blank Space

It’s easy to go overboard with the work we do. This is particularly true when we create something from an unlimited resource, such as words or sounds. We’re tempted to go on and on, making sure that we say enough. We don’t want people to misinterpret our message, so we seek to clarify beyond a reasonable doubt.

The issue is that it dilutes our message. There’s nothing wrong with exploring an idea, but if you don’t do this in the right way, the message is lost. People won’t stay for the whole ride if they think most of it will involve a lot of repetition.

The trick, then, is to include enough detail to convey what you want to say without going overboard. That means being purposeful about the blank space and the omissions you have. Not everything has to be included in what you say. Sometimes, a message can be just as powerful with only the bare essentials.

The next time you speak or write, think about the extra clutter you’re adding to your message. Do you need to include that extra paragraph of context, or will the person understand what you’re saying? Is the message clear without diving into ten different examples? If so, that’s an indication to leave it how it is.

Remove the clutter and add more blank space to your words. People will enjoy your work a lot more.