A lot of people get bogged down in details when trying to write a note. Tired of writing notes that you know are too long? Tired of spending too much time trying to get your point across? These five quick tips can help trim your writing.
1. Know what you want to say. Think through what your message is. Jot down your thoughts and create a short outline before writing. If time permits, let those thoughts sit before you write, so you’re comfortable with your message.
2. Get straight to the point. Determine the most important point you want to communicate. Avoid unnecessary detail and background, giving the reader too much information on how or why you reached a conclusion. Think “Dragnet”: Just give them the facts.
3. Use active verbs and avoid unnecessary verbiage. If you write a lot of sentences using “are” or “is,” you are using passive voice. Passive voice should not be used in writing because it weakens your message. An example of unnecessary verbiage: You don’t write “I am going to attend” when you know you’re attending. You “will attend.”
4. Avoid adjectives, adverbs and flowery language. Don’t write “he did extremely well.” If he did better than “well,” say so. Use a more precise word — great, fantastic, etc. Even if you are trying to praise someone’s performance, you can do so with just a few thoughtful words.
5. Be your own editor. Before you complete your note, take a minute to review it as a reader. Remove anything that’s not necessary for the message.
These are fairly simple tips. However, once you’ve tried out these tips, you will quickly see a difference. Not only will you be happier with your written communications, your readers will be, too.