As I thought about writing this post, I wanted to keep it brief and useful. That brought to mind a VP I worked with years ago. He was sharp, organized and always on top of his game. Well respected, too. His top managers were a lot like him. Known as team players, go getters, always expressing their thoughts in a constructive way. It made me think we all can work on making our points more constructive and succinct.
Everyone’s attention span is short. Whether you’re writing email, speaking at a meeting or making a presentation, keep that in mind.
Each time I write, I go back and edit out at least 10%. Then I do it again. That’s an old tip from Zinsser’s “On Writing Well.” I’ve already cut more than 10% of what I’ve written here!
The VP’s team said to be successful with him, you had to “be brief, be bright, be gone!” Make your points clearly, if written keep it to one page. He didn’t dictate that, they adapted that style because he valued it.
If you want those you communicate with to be brief, bright and complete with their messages to you, set the example. When emailing, include the action you want taken in the first lines of your message. Make sure your tone is positive. You’ll be surprised at how others adapt to your style. If you write long, wordy messages, you’ll often get that style in return. If you write clear, concise, appreciative messages, you’ll get them in return as well. You train others how you want to be treated. Try it.
OK, I’m gone. Let me know how it goes!