The Art of Brevity

Keeping it short and to the point is something we all need reminding of now and again.

Our local headmaster is guilty of sending out e-mails so wordy that I often hit delete long before he’s got to the crux of the matter.

E-mails, like CVs should fit onto one side of A4

I asked a business leader of my acquaintance the other day, what was the most useful thing I, as an ex BBC journalist, could teach his staff ?

“How to keep it short”, he replied.

The BBC Radio 1 news programme “Newsbeat” expects all its reporters to do this. Their reports last no more than a minute and a half. This apparently reflects the attention span of their audience but it’s no bad thing.

You would think such brevity was a cop-out but it’s actually much harder to do well. There’s no room for fat, the piece has to be reduced to its essentials and the writing must be sharp.

There are lessons here for all areas of what we do.

Ask anyone on Twitter whether brevity is an art form?


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