It’s always good to talk about important things. Let me tell you something about the qualities of my best friend: he has two ears, two eyes, and a nose. Are those important? Absolutely. Is mentioning this useful? Absolutely not.

There’s a simple test for weeding out these kinds of statements, which often bloat pitches, copy, or presentations of experts all over the world. It’s called inversion, and it’s been called the favorite toy of one very accomplished user of mental models, Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger.

Munger says “It is not enough to think about difficult problems one way. You need to think about them forwards and backward. As an example, rather than think about what makes a good life, you can think backward: what prescriptions would ensure misery? Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.”

In our case, instead of trying to figure out the brilliant phrase that would instantly reveal our value, try to avoid saying things that people like you would never claim the opposite of, because those ones, although correct, probably won’t distinguish you at all. And if they don’t distinguish you, talking about them just takes up space and time.

“We care about all of our customers” – probably true. But even if you didn’t – would you say so? By trying to invert the sentences you use like that, you can avoid spending time boring your clients.


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