Updated December 2023
Here are some tips to help you get your point across more effectively -- because who among us can't use more of that?!
1. Think fast--and first!
Even if you're doing an information presentation, think first! I use the Idea-Details Strategy® when I want to make sure I don't forget the crucial stuff I'm eager to share. Left side is the most important thing I want to convey. Right side is the key details that support that. Easy cheat sheet. Use this when preparing for interviews or slide presentations--one Idea-Details per page. (This is part of our People-Information-Goals worksheet.)
2. Know why you're communicating.
This seems so obvious, but time and again I encounter folks who don't have a clear purpose for their communications. Even if it's "because the boss told me to", come up with something deeper, an response or action you'd like someone to have or take after reading/listening. This actually helps us focus our writing more keenly on what matters, rather than meandering all over the place in search of a point. (This one's part of the PIG, too).
3. Reduce word count.
No matter how concisely you think you've written, you can always cut -- experts say about 20%. Even in a short piece, there are likely a few additional words you can live without. Trust me, it makes writing clearer and crisper, and with everyone reading on super-tiny screens, it's easier to consume, too. Here a some revision tactics to get you started.
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