Pretend that each word you write in business communications costs you $100.
If your emails are too long, they likely won't be read at all. In fact, President Lincoln's powerful Gettysburg Address was only 272 words. Less is more.
Steve Jobs was the quintessential communicator and entrepreneur. He firmly believed that for a product or idea to be widely adopted, it needed to have a simple design.
The iPhone and iPad have only one button. His presentations usually had three bullet points or three images per slide, and that was all; brevity and simplicity work.
In this day and age, we are so inundated with information that 140-character bottom- line summaries are more relevant than lengthy write-ups.
The best business-model presentations that I see as a venture capitalist have a maximum of 10 slides with only three bullet points per slide; less is more works.
When I write lengthy emails, the probability of a response is always materially lower. The same can be said for paragraphs, which should always have fewer than four sentences (until recently I would occasionally write seven or more sentences per paragraph in emails, which would result in very few responses).
There is a reason that many of us enjoy using Twitter.
5 Tips to Ensure Shorter Emails/Communications:
- Pretend that each word you type costs you $100.
- After each sentence or bullet point on a slide, ask yourself "So what?" If you can't answer why that sentence was incredibly important, then remove it.
- If you must write a lengthy email or report, make sure you have a clearly defined bottom-line message at the top of the email or at the beginning of the report. Most people won't bother reading much more than the bottom line anyway.
- The contents of an article or email must clearly be defined by the subject line or title.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. If you can summarize a document or correspondence with a picture, then do it. There is a reason why Pinterest and Instagram are very popular.
Executives and potential investors have extraordinarily short attention spans in this day and age given the many screens that we are addicted to like smartphones, tablets, laptops, watches, etc.
You need to get your point across in as few words as possible. With this in mind, you should definitely embrace the winning methodology of less is more in business.