The Power of the Written Word: From Bezos to Batman3 min read

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In the world of business, communication is key. But how we communicate can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at two very different approaches to communication: one from the world of tech, and one from the world of… well, Batman.

The Bezos Memo

First, let’s talk about Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon. Bezos is known for his unique approach to meetings. Instead of PowerPoint presentations, Bezos introduced a new concept: the six-page memo.

These memos are read silently by attendees for the first 30 minutes of the meeting. The idea is that writing a memo forces the author to clarify their thinking and provide more context and detail. This, in turn, allows for a better discussion. It’s a method that’s been praised for its effectiveness and has even been adopted by other CEOs, like Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey.

The Grant Perspective

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant has a similar perspective on the power of writing. He believes that the best way to gauge the quality of someone’s ideas isn’t to listen to them talking, but to read their writing. According to him, compelling speakers can mask weak logic with strong charisma, but putting key points on a page exposes flawed reasoning. This perspective aligns perfectly with the Bezos memo concept. Writing a memo requires you to break down your idea, examine each component, and then assemble it in a way that others can understand.

The Batman Memo

Now, let’s take a detour to Gotham City. In the movie “Batman Begins,” there’s a memorable quote: “Didn’t you get the memo?” This line is delivered by Lucius Fox after a major power shift in Wayne Enterprises. While this quote is delivered in a very different context, it humorously underscores the importance of clear communication. After all, if you don’t get the memo, you might just find yourself out of the loop, or worse, out of a job!

The Power of the Memo

So, what can we learn from Bezos, Grant, and Batman? Whether you’re running a tech giant, exploring a swarm of ideas, or navigating the corporate world of Gotham, clear and effective communication is crucial. And often, that communication is most powerful when it’s written down.

Writing, whether it’s in the form of a memo, a report, or a simple email, forces us to clarify our thinking, articulate our ideas effectively, and ensure everyone’s on the same page. It’s a tool that can transform meetings, influence decisions, and even shape the direction of a company.

So next time you’re preparing to share an idea or a plan, consider the power of writing. It might just be the tool you need to communicate effectively, influence others, and drive change. And hey, it might even save you from a Batman-style takedown.

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