Conciseness

Mike’s blog has been hijacked by a duck.

DB_SQL_Duck

… okay, maybe not. Hi, I’m K. Brian Kelley and I am guest blogging on Mike’s blog. Normally I write on security topics over at SQL Server Central, but I couldn’t resist following up to this excellent blog post by Mike.

Why Conciseness Matters

Ever open an email that looks like a dissertation? We all have. Now some things to think about:

  • Did you actually read all of it?
  • Did you remember the points being made?
  • Did you hate having to wade through all of that?

Your answers, if they were like mine were, “No,” “No,” and “Yes.” We have to remember that others feel the same way when we send a book of an email. And the end result is that they don’t read our email, they don’t remember the points, and they’re annoyed, if not outright angry with us for writing it and subjecting them to it.

Staying Focused

One thing I’ve tried to do in my recent email and blog posts is think about my points. I want to make sure I know what it is I’m trying to say. Then I compare it against the audience. What does the audience really need? For instance, if it’s management, what usually needed is a short recommendation or explanation, no more than a few sentences long¬†(as in a maximum of 3). I can indicate I have support for what I’m saying, but I don’t need to hit the recipient with barrels and barrels of information they might not need or want in that email. Even if it’s a techie audience, I still want to keep things short. My language and choice of words might change, but the conciseness should not. Think “executive summary.”

When I’m done writing the message or post, I review it. Does it hit the point I want to make?¬† Is it concise? Do I use extra words needlessly? Do I bring in loosely or unrelated topics or points? Is the language appropriate? Those are the things I’m looking for. I want to make sure my message is clear and that it gets read. This approach gives me a better chance of accomplishing those goals.

Note From Mike: Thanks to Brian for this post! Check out his blogs linked above! I’ve gained a lot from him and use one of his analogies about users and logins often. He brings up some great points and I could learn a lot from him here in my work e-mails. Thanks again, Brian.

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  1. schubash December 9, 2009 at 16:22 #

    Great duck.

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