Being concise is not being short or writing without emotions - it’s about delivering a message in as little words as possible and with as much clarity
Let’s start this off with a definition:
“Concision (alternatively brevity, laconicism, terseness, or conciseness) is the art and practice of minimizing words used to convey an idea. It aims to make communication more effective by eliminating redundancy without omitting important information.”
So, the goal of being concise is to improve communication without losing the power of the message. And that’s where many people go wrong!
I asked a few people what concise meant for them and the majority said “short”.
Concise does not mean short and here’s why…
The definition says that it’s about minimising words. That in other words means that you need to cut out the fluff and write straight to the point.
In other words:
Being concise is one of the hardest things to do because you have to strike a very fine balance between eliminating filler and still carrying the message.
When it comes to fiction, a novel that is “fast-paced and action-packed” suggests that there’s a strong storyline with a focus on delivering the story with captivating intensity.
That does not mean that a novel has to be short.
The amount of detail in the story to, for example, describe the characters or maybe their rooms is just enough to describe the characters in enough detail to make them relatable and the descriptions of their rooms offer important details that we need to create a more complete picture or deeper understanding of the characters or plot development.
It’s the same with copy and content.
As an example: High performing sales pages are often very long but they do not contain any fluff.
They contain all the information needed to make a sale but nothing else. Nothing that could take the reader’s attention off the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line and buy.
Sales pages are like sales conversations in writing. They need to contain all the information that the reader needs to:
But nothing else!
A client recently told me that she has a scientific background and that in her role she all her writing had to be very concise and focused on data.
Now as an entrepreneur, she finds it hard to add or evoke emotions with her copy and content.
The issue here lies in the purpose and the style of two entirely different types of writing.
Scientific writing delivers data in a neutral tone. Data and the interpretation of that data has to be un-biased to be credible.
Copy and content, on the other hand, have the purpose to connect and persuade through emotions.
That can be achieved through storytelling, creating emotional scenarios, talking about benefits and outcomes – wooing the readers with the right words to meet their expectations and answer their innermost desires.
But the rule still applies: Write as much as you need and then stop!
Evoke emotions but don’t go on about it.
Hit the mark and move on to the next point.
The best thing is to…
And use as little words as necessary and use simple words that people understand.
Keep your goal in mind and cut out anything that doesn’t support or contribute to your content goal.
Often that means that you have to adapt your writing style. Your need to learn to write for ease of reading and understanding.
Writing content is not like writing a philosophical paper with sentences spanning 10 lines or more.
Writing concise content is about getting your point across with as little words as possible to achieve clarity.
And always be mindful of your audience. Your audience invests time to read your copy. You should appreciate that investment and provide value without fluff.
Otherwise, you run the risk of losing them.
"Being concise is not being short or writing without emotions - it’s about delivering a message in as little words as possible and with as much clarity as needed."