Writing Tip: Avoid Being Too Wordy
Do you see everything you write as a chance to show off your literary talents? Do you approach even emails and memos as if you were writing a novel? If so, you must master the art of “writing tight,” or keeping your text succinct and to the point.
This is especially important these days when many people read their messages on a smartphone or portable device, often when they have a few minutes in between all the other stuff packed in their busy day. Attention spans are short, and screen sizes are tiny, so you must make your message as brief and carefully worded as possible.
The good news is, this probably won’t be as tough as you think. It just may take a little bit of effort (at least at first) to change your writing habits. If you are like many people, you use way too many needless words and take too long to get to your point. As this article says, there’s sort of an epidemic of circumlocution (the use of several words when one will do) in the business world today.
Think about it: do you use phrases like “at the end of the day” or “it is what it is.” What do those mean? And more important, do they add anything of value to your message? Other common offenders: “at this point in time,” “in regards to,” and “in the event that.”
One way to get in the habit of writing tight is to make it a challenge to yourself. See of you can cut at least a few words from each paragraph you write without affecting the meaning. Most likely, you will be surprised by how many words you can chop.
How do you keep your writing from getting too wordy? Share tips in the comments.
Image courtesy of Thinkstock