When Concise Writing is Important

There are times when brevity, or “lasering” our message gives it greater impact than does a long explanation. Some techniques:

1. Imagine you are writing a classified ad in which every extra word costs money.

2. Write what you want to, then summarize each paragraph in one sentence. Use the summary sentences and discard the paragraphs.

3. Imagine you are writing a column in which the editorial length limit is one-third of the original length of your piece. If you don’t cut it to the mandated length, the editor will.

4. Edit carefully so that nothing is repeated or said twice (LOL).

5. Remember that the attention spans of more than half your readers were developed watching 30 second bytes, not the more leisurely Captain Kangaroo of yesteryear.

6. Remember that many of the other half are working full time, running a household, raising a family, and possibly moonlighting. If it is too long to read in the bathroom they may not read it!

7. If your lead statement is clear it does not need follow-up explanation.

8. If your lead statement needs more explanation, re-write it so that it can stand alone.

9. Remember that half the words have twice the impact.

10. Assume your readers have the intelligence to think of their own illustrative examples.

 

 

About Diana Gardner Robinson