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Got something important to say? People will thank you for being concise

If you want people to hear you, understand you and take your message home with them, be succinct.

Marketing ‘letters’ are often lengthy, often presented as those single-page websites that beg you to scroll and scroll until you’ve had all your objections washed away by the torrent of ‘testimonials’, freebies and price-drops. These long-winded tactics work; people of dubious intellect buy things they don’t need or want because they’ve been convinced by the overwhelming ‘evidence’.

If I wanted an Ab-blaster or a car alarm system I would buy one; Personally, I don’t need to wade through this sort of gumph.

Some people say that we’re all selling something, even if it’s just an idea, but I say that if you’re not directly selling some dodgy product, if you value your audience and their time, you’ll be concise. You’ll get to the point with as little confusing rhetoric as possible and you’ll communicate in a clear and understandable manner.

Be clear, be active, be concise

  1. Write short sentences;
  2. use paragraphs to break up ideas and the bodytext;
  3. write in an active manner, avoid the passive voice;
  4. edit out superfluous words*;
  5. use simple words, unless you know your audience well;
  6. say what you mean, mean what you say, and get out.

* My use of the word ‘superfluous’ could put some people off, so I could have chosen ‘unneeded’ or ‘redundant’.

Write for your audience – respect their intelligence and value their time. Don’t lock them to your page for no reason.


About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

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