Monday, December 04, 2017

In Praise of Brevity

I wrote this a while ago - repubilishing now.

“I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter” by Blaise Pascal (1623-62).
We are inundated with information. People are starved for time and as such they greatly respect and value short correspondence, articles and blog posts. People actually use the length of the message as a way to filter what gets read.
I do not say this just because I am a Time Management geek.
If you want people to read something, make it short and concise. A paragraph that runs five sentences long is daunting and there is a good chance that the reader will not read it.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Use simple, short words: They are easier to understand — so use simple English even if it offends your sense of literacy.
2. Use dashes to shorten up a sentence – most readers are not grammatical experts and value sentences that are more in line with the way they speak.
3. Use bullet points and numbered paragraphs – it keeps the meaning clear and organized in our minds
4. Lines and spacing: The more white background space on the page, the easier it is to read the black text. Double spacing text is easier to read than single spacing
Less text is more effective. And I could keep writing but that would undermine my point.
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And since a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps including pictures negates this position on brevity?  And yes that is a Danby fridge on her apron.  She thinks it says Daddy.



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