Oceans 11 is a movie for me and I will never get bored watching it. With so many good one-liners, engaging conversations, quirky antics, and a great cast collaboration, it’s one movie that doesn’t seem to age in my book.

There is a line where Rusty is training Linus on how to convince Terry Benedict that he is someone other than who he is and says, “don’t use 7 words when 4 will do”. It’s a short quick conversation, but something I have always remembered since the first time I have seen the movie. Probably because I’m a short to the point type of person.

There are times that I can speak longer and, in more depth, but those are times when I have had time to prepare thoughts, time to educate myself, or times I have been able to think. But mostly in my everyday interactions I tend to have quick short discussions to hear about the problem, hear about issues, and find the simplest solution. Sometimes those solutions can take longer to solve in complex systems, but most of the time I have seen and realize we overcomplicate work and life by using seven words instead of four.

Recently I finished a course through interaction-design.org from Don Norman titled “Design for the 21st Century“, and it was awesome to learn from the master himself. Don is a Psychologist and usability consultant who’s worked with Apple, HP, and the Nielsen Norman Group and is often credited as the father of UX. And this course showed why he is.

Out of all the IDxF certifications I have completed so far, this one has had the most feeling, the most personal touch, the desire to keep going on to the next lesson, and the ability to see my own experiences in it.

Don has had so much success in his career and this course gave a quick little bite into what’s made him successful, and it brings us back to Oceans 11. Don shares 3 bullet points of what he attributes to his success. And on the top of that list is, “Use clear understandable language”. Something I have always tried to live by. Do we really need to use seven words when four will do?

Many times people in their respective careers, try to overcomplicate conversations, sales pitches, descriptions, problems, and the jobs to be done. And I have fallen into this trap many times. We want to sound like a professional in our careers and we sometimes overcomplicate that by using large words, confusing descriptions, complicated results, and don’t know when to stop talking.

Don is vulnerable and stated that he has “trouble understanding a lot of this stuff and I struggle with it. And when I finally understand it…I write it in clear, understandable language.” What a great lesson to be learned. I have been in many meetings where fellow designers try to speak in a language that is hard to follow. Using buzzwords and terms that many people in the industry don’t comprehend, and it’s confusing, even for someone in the industry.

I have fallen into the trap of not knowing when to shut up and just get my point across and move on to a solution and communicate that clear solution to my clients, users, family, friends, etc. And it’s something I am trying to be better with.

So with that said, “Don’t use seven words when four will do”—Rusty.

Published On: January 16th, 2023 / Categories: D3 Design and Marketing, UX Design /