If you're wondering how to break through the clutter and reach your target customer, look no further than the nearest supermarket or fast-food restaurant.

What you'll see is that brands like Starbucks, Sonic and Pepsi-Cola are appealing to consumers by offering less, not more. In fact, according to Adweek's Trending column, Mini is the New Supersized.

Why? The column quotes Tim Maleeny, chief strategy officer for Havas Worldwide. "Smaller sizes have always been appealing for products perceived as indulgent," he says.

By introducing reduced-size products like the Frappuccino (Starbucks), Snickers bites candy (Mars) and mini hotdogs (Sonic), companies encourage consumers to keep indulging, despite their desire to cut fat and sugar.

This small-is-big strategy not only works for treats; it's a proven way to encourage your audience to pay attention when you communicate. The reason is simple: The shorter the message, the likely audience members will consume it on the spot. If they perceive a communication will take time to process, they're likely to "save it until later" but forget about it.

Here are five quick ways to create bite-sized communication:

  1. Narrow your focus to just one concept. Answer the question: What is the one thing I need my audience to know/do?
  2. Set strict guidelines for length--and stick to them. Test how much time your audience will reasonably spend on your communication, and limit your content to fit that time.
  3. Make your sentences direct and brief. (Just like this.)
  4. Choose short words. Remember Dick and Jane? "Run, Spot, Run" is much easier to digest than "Scamper, canine, scamper."
  5. Go visual. A great image will get your point across even faster than words.

When all else fails, remember the sage words of Leonard Steinhorn, a communications professor at American University. "You don't have to go on forever to be able to communicate important, fascinating and complex ideas." After all, one of the greatest speeches in history was the Gettysburg Address, which only had 272 words.