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The surprising reason you can’t afford to ramble

11th October, 2023

The surprising reason you can’t afford to ramble

Hot new research has confirmed something I always suspected…

 

Two Harvard behavioural scientists, Todd Rogers and Jessica Lasky-Fink, conducted a study on brevity.

 

They analysed an email to thousands of school board members asking them to take a survey.  

 

When the email was cut from 127 to 49 words, it almost doubled the response rate.

 

So far, so unsurprising. (We recommend emails of 80 words or fewer if you want people to act.)

 

But here’s where it got more interesting.

 

The researchers also found that a longer message makes recipients think the task (in this case filling out a survey) will take longer, too.

 

So waffly emails have a bigger effect than just how long they take to read and digest.  

 

They negatively impact the perception of your ‘ask’ too.  

 

Rambling is most definitely gambling.  You have been warned.

accenture
UBS
Ricoh
Euromoney
University of Cambridge

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