inCredible Messages Blog

Make Your Message Concise: Delete Information Clutter

I ask participants in my seminars to describe the criteria they use to decide when to read an e-mail or document rather than delete, toss, or save it for later. The top two criteria are consistent: People read messages that are concise and that go directly to the point.

It’s easy to declare that others should write concisely and directly. Making the messages you write confirm to these criterion is a more difficult matter. Perhaps the words of professional organizer, Patty Kreamer, can help: “Clutter is nothing more than unmade decisions.” According to Kreamer, piles of papers are simply papers you’ve avoided tossing, filing, or acting upon.

Unnecessary information clutters a message in the same way that extra papers can clutter your desk. Get rid of information clutter by taking a few minutes to think of your message from the perspective of the receiver. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the reader need this information to understand the point?
  • Does the reader care about these details?
  • Could some of this background information be put into an appendix or accessed via a link?
  • Have I removed excess information that obscures the main selling points of my idea or recommendation?

When the answer to any question is “No,” make a decision to delete the material involved. Remove the clutter. You’ll increase the odds that receivers will read and act on your message.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in Business Writing Techniques, Multipurpose Content.


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