24 February 2011

Keep It Simple Stupid!

A few years ago I came across this thought provoking statement for the first time. It was used in the context of a communications plan, and it was referred to as the KISS principle (the first letters of Keep IT Simple Stupid, obviously). It is such a nice phrase to use in discussions about communication plans, as it always provokes a reaction; it always puts people off guard. I have noticed so often that people really started to pay attention when this principle was thrown into the discussion.

The great thing about the KISS principle is – of course- that everybody immediately knows what you are talking about. In the corporate environment we often tend to make things far too complicated. Managers often feel that their messages need to show that they really know what they are doing.

So often does this tendency lead to phenomena like what I like to call ‘PowerPoint Body Building’. “Hey, look how complicated this chart is. I manage this, and I know all the details”. So, OK, you got muscle, but what was it that you were trying to say to us, because we are totally lost here…

Another issue with many managers or project leaders is that they just want to communicate too much. You don’t need to cover all your areas, just focus on what is important to your audience. Communication is very much about what you don’t say!

When I make a communications plan, I usually try to get the KISS principle (spelled this way, and just explained once) in the communication strategy part of the plan. It is a great phrase to refer to whenever people make things too complicated. Everyone knows immediately what you mean when you give feedback.

Anyone any other examples of principles that they use? I’d be curious to hear about them.


  1. does not make sense. can it be simplified a bit, keep it simple and stupid is rude!

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