Getting to the Point

Getting to the point:

“I didn’t’ have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one”.  Mark Twain


This quote may well have been written just for me.   Whether you’re writing or speaking, it’s so much easier to prattle on that it is to be succinct and get to the point. As the amount of information we’re exposed to increases and attention spans decrease we have to get our message across in as short a time, or as few characters as possible.

Here’s 5 tips to help us:

  1. What’s your point?  Be clear about the point you’re trying to make otherwise you’ll waffle.  “If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough”
  2. Write it down.  Having to explain yourself on paper stops you ‘winging it’ – especially when you’re talking.
  3. Edit. Edit. Edit.  Your first draft will never be your best work.  Be brutal.   Unleash your red pen and go to town on what you’ve written.
  4. Proof-read your message out loud.  By reading it out loud you’ll discover un-necessary words or clumsy phrases.
  5. Allow yourself time.  When you’ve worked hard on a piece be it a presentation, a pitch or a report, of course you’re going to think its fantastic.  Allow time – even just an hour, to go back to it with a fresh pair of eyes and view it objectively.  Look out for typos; jargon, clumsy phrases or sentences that run on too long.


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