Internal comms and efficiency tips from Amazon

Keep meetings small, prioritize storytelling over data, and capture your audience right off the bat.

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Amazon may owe at least part of its success to efficient internal communication.

Corporate communication teams can glean plenty of lessons from the e-commerce giant—especially in terms of meetings.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained his simple rules for corporate communication in a letter to shareholders and an interview at the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Forum on Leadership. Here are the key takeaways:

1. The two-pizza rule. Large groups tend to devolve into long, rambling discussions that end up wasting everyone’s time. Bezos keeps meetings manageable by limiting the number of attendees to no more than can be fed by two pizzas.

2. The six-page memo. Amazon has banned PowerPoints and other slide presentations. Instead, its people create a six-page memo—full narratives—not just bullet points.

The narrative memos work well because our brains process good storytelling much better than hard data, Bezos says. The memos give authors the chance to fully communicate their ideas, which helps meeting participants more thoroughly understand concepts.

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