A guide to brief and effective workplace communication

Remember adding as many words as possible to your grade-school papers so they would meet the teacher’s length requirement? It’s time to stop following that formula in the workplace.

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In grade school, my teachers would assign book or topic reports, and they always had a length requirement.

Make sure it’s two pages and single-spaced.

Kids would struggle to make their reports long enough, using extra-large margins, leaving big gap under the title and/or writing really big.

In high school, we advanced from reports to term papers that had to be 25 or 50 pages typed, double-spaced, and had to include supporting research for every fact. You had to show how you built your case.

That formula continued into college: Make your reports complete, accurate and long. Show your research.

Get to the point

In business, the last thing anyone wants to do is read a long report filled with details about how you got to your point.

Effective business communication is brief and relevant to your audience.

For many, the school approach is hard to shed, because teachers drilled it into us as the correct way to write (in America, anyway).

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