Devilishly detailed

Devilishly detailed

Details, details, details.

In our online world, details have become the devil director of doomed business communication.

Details get a bad rap.

  • We need details to tell our story
  • Details establish proof
  • Details define our message

Business communication without details is a meaningless shell of words.

That doesn’t mean we need to share EVERY SINGLE DETAIL.

In the fourth post of our alphabetic journey through business communication, you discover the devil is in the details.

Damned if You Do

Before we discuss the devilish side of details in business communication, let’s look at the good.

Tell Your Story

How many times have you heard the advice to tell a story with your business communication?

Now, imagine that story without details.

It’s like watching a movie with a plot twist that makes no sense.

  • The audience is confused
  • They may feel cheated
  • The audience rejects the story

On the flip side, a story with too much detail casts the audience into Detail Hell.

Do we really need a daily accounting of a product’s launch? Highlights would do quite nicely, thank you.

Establish Proof

Working with statistics gets tricky.

In Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review, he quoted Disraeli.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

However, accurate statistics also lend proof to statements.

Accurate statistics convert vague statements into credible resources.

That does not mean your audience needs (or wants) a slide or paper filled with statistics.

  • Translate statistics for your audience
  • Share what the statistics mean
  • Use visuals to make your point

Historical details can act as another form of proof.

A company’s history establishes experience. While not absolute, a company that survived decades (or a century) demonstrates at least some level of business savvy.

However, playing devil’s advocate, readers won’t plow through an annual analysis of the company, beginning with its start in 1892.

Define Your Message

Before you do any business communication, you must define your message.

  • Your audience helps shape your message
  • Details define your message

Defining your message may sound simple. However, too often we confuse goals and objectives with our message.

  • I want to sell our product
  • Nice objective, but not your message
  • What’s the point of your message?

Our widgets help customers that produce XYZ computer parts to produce them faster and better.

Ah, got it. Now prove it.

That’s where details help.

Using the litmus test for communication, define your message.

  • Quickly make your point
  • Answer how that benefits your audience
  • Use details to build your case
  • Summarize and restate your message

Do you feel a little better about details now?

Business Communication: The Devil is in the Details

Want fewer details? Check out the SlideShare presentation below.

What details do you want to share?

Big Stock Photo Credits


Note: This is the fourth in a year-long alphabetic journey for better business communication.  We’ll share topics from A to Z that keep business communication simple, clear & uniquely yours.

Get a front-row seat on the rest of the alphabetized business communication journey. Sign up for updates in the sidebar.



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