Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

351. The Key to Effective Communication: Simplify and Connect with Ben Guttmann

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, you will hear an insightful conversation between host Melina Palmer and guest Ben Guttmann, author of Attention!: The Power of Simple Decisions in a Distracted World. Guttmann shares his expertise on the importance of simplicity in communication and offers practical advice on creating messages that resonate with the audience. Through examples and analogies, Guttmann highlights the “Frankenstein problem” of overloading messages with too much information, stressing the need for focus and clarity. He emphasizes the concept of fluency in messaging and how it leads to simplicity and resonance. 

The episode also delves into the paradox of choice, the difference between nice and kind messaging, and the significance of context in crafting effective messages. If you’re a communicator or marketer looking to improve your messaging and connect with your audience on a deeper level, this episode is a must-listen.

In this episode:

  • Master the art of simplicity in communication to captivate your audience and convey your message with clarity and impact.
  • Create messages that cut through the noise and resonate with your target audience, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • Harness the power of context in your messaging to ensure your audience understands the relevance and importance of your message, increasing its effectiveness.
  • Craft messages that leave a lasting impact on your audience, turning them into loyal customers and advocates for your brand.
  • Avoid the pitfalls of fragmented communication by delivering cohesive and consistent messages that strengthen your brand and build trust with your audience.
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00:00:00 – Introduction,
Melina Palmer introduces Ben Guttmann, author of the book Simply Put, and provides a brief overview of his background in marketing and communications.

00:03:10 – Example of Simple Messaging
Ben shares an example of a project he worked on for a power plant in New York City. The power plant needed an internal rallying cry to help employees feel a sense of identity and purpose. The slogan they developed, “Making New York Happen,” became a powerful message that resonated with the employees.

00:06:47 – Internal Messaging with External Potential
Ben discusses another project he worked on, a pro bono campaign to combat littering in New York City parks. The campaign aimed to tap into the identity of being a “real New Yorker” and encourage people to not litter. Although the campaign was not launched due to timing issues, it demonstrates how internal messaging can have external potential.

00:10:57 – Empathy in Messaging
Ben emphasizes the importance of empathy in messaging. He explains that effective messaging should meet people where they are and speak their language. Understanding the audience’s perspective and using language that resonates with them is key to creating impactful messages.

00:12:50 – Simplifying Complex Messages
Ben and Melina discuss the challenge of simplifying complex messages. Ben highlights the importance of finding the core message and eliminating unnecessary complexity. By focusing on the key point and delivering it clearly, messages can become more memorable and effective.

00:14:49 – The Problem of Having Too Much Stuff in Your Message
Ben discusses the common problem of having too much information in a message, leading to a lack of focus and effectiveness. He uses the analogy of a website redesign and refers to his own website as “Franken-site” to illustrate this issue.

00:17:14 – The Frankenstein Idea in Communication
Ben introduces the concept of the “Frankenstein idea” in communication, where multiple components are put together in a message without considering their compatibility. He compares it to the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, highlighting the importance of focus and coherence in communication.

00:20:56 – The Sender and Receiver in Communication
Ben emphasizes the distinction between senders and receivers in communication. He explains that as senders, it is our responsibility to ensure our message is heard and understood by the receivers, as they are not inherently interested in what we have to say. Humility and effective messaging are key.

00:23:03 – The Burden of the Sender
Ben discusses the burden of the sender in communication. He highlights that it is the sender’s responsibility to create a message that is valuable and engaging for the receiver, as they do not wake up wanting to hear the sender’s message. The sender must pay the postage to ensure their message is heard.

00:29:41 – The Power of Focusing on One Idea
It’s better to pick one piece of an idea and focus on it, even if it’s not the strongest. Commitment leads to better messaging and concept development.

00:31:26 – Mediocre Feedback vs. Love or Hate
Mediocre feedback is worse than receiving love or hate for your work. The distance between love and hate is shorter than between apathy and passion. A little bit of nuance and commitment can turn an imperfect concept into something better.

00:33:22 – The Paradox of Choice
Having too many options can lead to indecision and apathy. When there are fewer options, people are more likely to rally behind and appreciate what they have chosen.

00:35:04 – The Importance of Kindness in Messaging
Kindness in messaging goes beyond being nice. It means caring about the well-being and outcome of the receiver. Simple and clear messages, like a parking sign that says “Don’t even think about parking here,” can be kind and effective.

00:39:57 – Respecting People’s Time
It’s important to respect people’s time and not waste it with cluttered or irrelevant messaging. When messages are concise and get to the point, people are more likely to pay attention and take action.

00:44:22 – The Importance of Contrast
Ben emphasizes the importance of contrast in communication, stating that without quiet, there can be no loud. He explains that knowing what exists is crucial in order to stand out and connect with your audience.

00:44:56 – Standing Out and Resonating
Ben discusses the significance of context and resonating with your audience. He highlights the need to understand what resonates with your audience in order to make an impact.

00:45:20 – Connecting and Getting More Information
Ben directs listeners to his website,, where they can find his blog, sign up for his newsletter, and download the first chapter of his book for free. He encourages connecting with him on LinkedIn or other platforms.

00:45:53 –  Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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