One of the questions I get asked most by my clients in my communication workshops is this:
How can I be more concise?
It’s that holy grail of communication, isn’t it? How to be pithy and to the point without losing meaning or impact.
And recently, in reply, I’ve been quoting the 19th century designer, William Morris (I’m so fun at dinner parties). He famously said:
‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’
(Ironically I was reminded of this quote by a fridge magnet at my in-law’s house that’s both ugly and useless.)
But this quote is a great filter for your communication. You can ask yourself:
Is it useful? Does my reader/listener have to know this information to understand my point or what I’m asking of them?
Is it beautiful? Does it deepen my relationship with my reader/listener? Does it communicate the emotion I want to get across? Does it make me more [insert desired emotion e.g. fun/moving/exciting/reassuring etc]?
If the answer to both of these is no, then start hitting delete.