Steps to Management Success – Step 100: Explanations Don’t Need a Word Count

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 8th, 2010


Explanations Don’t Need a Word Count

Can the B.S.! You may be tempted to think that a forty-page report is twice as good as a twenty-page report, but that’s simply not true. Quality and quantity are two different things—and guess which one is king?

WHAT IT MEANS: Shakespeare got it exactly right: “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Too many words can actually obscure what you’re trying to say. Maybe in school you had to pad that term paper to some preassigned length—but school’s out. In the business world, it’s clarity and cogency that count.

ACTION PLAN: Mark Twain once wrote to a friend that he didn’t have time to write a short letter, so he went ahead and wrote a long one. You should give yourself the time to streamline your documents with some prudent editing. First drafts have a tendency to be disjointed and rambling—but first drafts are not for the general public. Put on your editor’s hat and fine-tune your document or presentation until it’s crisp and right on the money. If you lack the necessary editorial skills, find someone who can work with you.

EVEN BETTER: Brevity is a worthy objective for virtually all your written and spoken business communications. When you ramble or keep repeating the same thing, you project a certain lack of confidence and professionalism. Stay on point by carefully considering what needs to be said and then saying it. You don’t have to carry both ends of the conversation. And you’ll get more comfortable being “short-winded” with practice.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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