Occam’s razor shaves better

Yesterday, my company Alcatel-Lucent combined with Nokia. Two industry leaders joined forces, and their combination will profoundly change the technology market. But the Finnish touch may also change our corporate communication style.

In the brand starter kit that my new employer distributed, I read that “we bravely refine and simplify,” that “our communication is clear, honest and free of the unnecessary — yet still warm,” and that “each sentence should be meaningful and valuable to the audience.”

As a long-time fan of crisp and clear communications, I can do nothing but warmly applaud these guidelines. And I’m looking forward to applying Occam’s razor

Also known as the lex parsimoniae (Latin for law of parsimony,) Occam’s razor is a problem-solving principle attributed to the Franciscan monk William of Ockham (1287–1347.) The principle, as originally written, states that:

“When one is faced with competing hypotheses, he or she should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions,”

or simply said:

“Don’t make things more complex than they are.”

The term “razor” is used as a metaphor for cutting apart two similar conclusions or shaving away unnecessary material.

Scientists have adopted the principle of parsimony to synthesize research data into actionable insights, and medical practitioners use it to deduct a viable diagnosis from a set of illness symptoms.

But Occam’s law also applies to corporate messaging and presentation design. Simplicity always works, though it often requires a thorough understanding of the complex details. Keep your messages short, sweet and simple. Cut your slides down to the information your audience absolutely must absorb. Be consistent in what you tell and what you show.

Occam’s razor shaves better. Cheers to the new Nokia and its pure communication style!

Nokia

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