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Santa Monica College|Student Services|Career Services Center |Etiquette Tip of the Week

Etiquette Tip of the Week

E​t​iquette Tip of the Week: Brevity Wins

When I teach Business Writing, one of my rules is "draft, then cut in half."

We live in a hurry-up world.
When graduating from college, if you create a four-page resume, few employers will look past the first page.
The higher people are in an organization, the less time they have to slog through emails with paragraphs of details.
Do you read email newsletters or hit "Delete?" Time and energy is wasted producing newsletters few will read.
Can bullet points communicate faster than a paragraph?
Can an image on the screen communicate faster than rows of bullets?
I learned from my previous job at a tech company that people today take their information in small chunks.
Eliminate excess words. Get to the point.
Reduce "In order to…" to "To…"
Reduce "What I would like you to know…" to "You should know…" or "Know that…" or eliminate the phrase. (I almost added, "altogether." That would have been excessive.)
Eliminate syllables.
Change "insignificant" (5 syllables) to "minor" (2 syllables) or "trivial" (3 syllables) Change "considerable" (5 syllables) to "large" (1 syllable) or "substantial" (3 syllables)
Use punctuation. ALL CAPS takes longer to read.
If this were three times as long, would you still be reading? In business, brevity wins.

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The Etiquette Tip of the Week may be forwarded to others who really, really need it, pinned to billboards, taped to the water cooler, blogged, Tweeted or used to fill that last little hole in your newsletter. Giving credit to the Culture and Manners Institute at is the polite thing to do. ​