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Write Less, Say More: The Power of Brevity | Lifehacker

When it comes to great writing, less is more. But even if you’re familiar with the mantra to “omit needless words,” tightening your writing is harder that it looks.

Which words should you omit? How can you write more clearly? Danny Rubin, a national news consultant and former television news reporter, demonstrates—with examples—the power of brevity.

There is a common misconception when it comes to writing that is professional in nature that a person must write in a verbose manner to come across as intelligent.

I am sorry. Let me do that again.

People often make a mistake in thinking that writing long-winded sentences with big words makes them appear smart.

Actually, let me try this one more time.

You don’t need to write a lot or use big words to sound smart.

Now, that’s better.

Too often, people write sentences like the one at the top when they should choose version #3. The main culprit, in my view, is the loathsome college essay. Only in college are we forced to write a paper a certain length. We develop strategies that balloon our paragraphs so we can fill out eight, 10 or 12 pages and pick up our gold stars on the way out.

In the real world, most people don’t enjoy reading cover letters, resumes and presentations. It’s extra work and burdensome. Worst of all, trying to write beyond our skill level screams ‘I’m in over my head.’

When you write with brevity, you make your points quickly and shrewdly. You don’t waste words and, in doing so, you don’t waste a person’s time. An employer or hiring manager, for instance, then sees you as sharp and courteous.

The secret to brevity (and, in turn, clarity) is something we are rarely taught growing up and may appear anathema to a professor of English lit:

Write like you are talking to a friend.

Get the rest of Danny Rubin’s wisdom on lifehacker.com

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.