On Being Brief

Written by Paul on April 30th, 2008

I used to write long emails; I mean really long. I justified it by telling myself that I was being thorough. I thought that the reader (most likely my clients or someone I worked with) would appreciate my effort to be as detailed as possible. Nothing could be further than the truth.

I noticed that most of the responses failed to answer the 34039857 questions I buried deep within. I learned that I was much more likely to get the answers I needed by keeping my emails short and posing one simple question.

Here’s my point: It’s intimidating to figure out what to put on a wall size whiteboard. It’s much easier to approach a postcard. Focus on getting just one message across.

On a side note, I’m on Twitter. Follow me at http://twitter.com/paulsingh.

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4 Responses to “On Being Brief”

  • gagan

    Good point!

    Another small thing that helps, but sometimes gets forgotten: re-reading your email *a few* times to make sure it’s concise and is actually/easily making the point you want. Also, check your grammar!!

    — 05/01/08 at 11:53 am

  • Samir

    Good info Paul. I think this is even more important now days since everyone seems to be too busy juggling their busy lives and rather than waste time on things, they rather get the info they need asap. Your advice leads to hopefully allowing both the sender and receiver being productive.

    Another thing is that majority of the people who rely on email communication use some type of pda to have constant access to their emails. With a short and concise message one can easily read the email right away without having to scroll through all the text just to get to the main point of the message.

    — 05/01/08 at 7:56 pm

  • @gagan: Great point – rereading is something I need to work on for sure.

    @samir: I didn’t even think of that – good stuff. I hate reading long emails on my iPhone. :)

    — 05/02/08 at 8:10 am

  • velaboy

    Samir, didn’t quite get the point- look at the length of his comment :)

    — 10/17/08 at 6:22 am

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