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25 May 2015

Concise Writing Tips: Fewer Words, Saying More

I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Concise writing and keeping to-the-point is the way forward – the key to becoming a stronger writer. You and your audience want the same thing; you want to write less, and they want to read less. We simply don’t have the time. Many of us will scan a few sentences then runaway never to be seen again! These concise writing tips can help prevent this. Fewer words, saying more.

When writing your emails, keep your focus on the message rather than constantly beating-about-the-bush. Posts on social media seem to have more impact when they’re shorter. Good novels carefully contain no extra words and white papers break things up well into smaller digestible bite-sized chunks, built around sections and subsections. Whatever you’re writing, only use words that need to be there.

Let’s move on CV writing. Have you ever tried to condense your career into a two-page CV? The ultimate concise writing task! It seems an impossible task, but the result will immediately give you the upper-hand. Even better is to fit everything onto one page. Believe it or not, I once read even the president of the United States can do a one-page CV! Ultimately, the purpose of writing is to convey a crystal clear message with as much impact as possible.

Here are 3 concise writing tips to think about.

Writing tips #1 – Stick to your point

Before you write your first word, establish the main message. The clear message you want your readers to absorb. Try to do it with 4 or 5 words. It will often end up as your headline. Remember, as a writer, your focus is your crucial weapon. It gives you the mental strength to think in one direction stopping irrelevant thoughts ending up on the page. Stay laser-focused and stick to your main point throughout.

Writing tips #2 – Stop wasting words

Words are precious on your page, so is your reader’s time. Naturally, the more words you end up wasting, the more time your reader loses. It’s worth remembering that every word you take out is as important as what you put in. Deleting unwanted words makes your copy more compact and lets you speak to your readers clearly. Go back over your writing, and edit out needless ideas, sentences, phrases and words. Then do it again until you’re absolutely sure every word counts.

Writing tips #3 – snappy punchy sentences

Although long informative sentences may seem a good idea to share your message this may backfire on your writing. These add heaviness to your copy and your reader will tend to ignore them. Get into the habit of writing short, snappy sentences. They’re simpler to write, easier to understand, more memorable for your readers and help you focus your thoughts more clearly. Sometimes writing long sentences is fine – as long as you keep to the point. Good copy often consists of both long sentences and concise writing, so mixing things up should create the perfect combination.

Finally, if you or your company would like to have more writing impact and discover more writing tips and hard-hitting advice to take your email writing and other communication skills to the next level, request one of my engaging Communication Training Sessions for your team.

So, it’s now over to you.

If you’ve got some proven writing tips of your own or found this post helpful – please leave a message!