Last time, we introduced the concept of structure to create that all important good impression. But it also has other significant benefits. For one, it forces focus, and focus is the soul of brevity. In today’s world of information overload, ‘fat-free’ information is ‘in’. Less is more. For another, structure supports persuasion. Organised information is more memorable. So, when what others have said is long-forgotten, your message continues to remind and persuade. Moreover, structure carries thinking forward, as in the ‘trick’ above. To move someone’s thinking is to persuade them. The notion ‘to be moved’ takes on a new meaning with this in mind. Thus, clarity, brevity and impact—all via structure. The good news is that we can all learn the skill of quickly structuring our thinking. Indeed, the basis of these ideas has been around a long time….
Philosopher as InspirationOne influential advocate of structure was the 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes. He is the author of the best-known one-liner in all of philosophy, “I think therefore I am”. He also outlined, in his Discourse on Method, how to present arguments clearly and persuasively. His recommendations in summary:
- Get to the core of your ideas (cut the fat?)
- Break your argument into a few easy-to-follow steps (structure?)
- Build in some forward movement (to move minds?)