Saying More with Less

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” – Mark Twain

When it comes to good writing, less is more. But, tightening your writing is harder than it looks. Which words should you omit? How can you write more clearly?

We’re all guilty of making the mistake in thinking that writing long-winded sentences with big words makes us appear smarter or more professional. Wait, let me try that again. Sometimes we wrongly choose complex and verbose words to describe business processes and procedures in the workplace. Let me try that one more time. You don’t need to write a lot or use big words to sound professional. There, that’s better.

Too often in business writing, we use difficult language when a simpler style could be more effective. When you write with brevity, you make your points quickly and sharply. You don’t waste words and, in doing so, you don’t waste the reader’s time.

A lot of business people have a habit of being very critical with the kinds of words we use in each sentence. After I write something, I go back and decide if each and every word I just wrote deserves to be there. I try to ask myself: If I remove this word, would the sentence still make sense? If I remove this sentence, would the paragraph still make sense?

The lesson I’ve learned is it’s better to make one or two key points rather than trying to give the reader all of the information at once. You may not always craft the perfect message, but when it’s well written and well organized it will leave an impression. Without a doubt, anyone who takes it upon themselves to learns and strengthen the power of brevity will communicate more effectively every time.