Thursday, September 11, 2008

TIme Management Tip - Be Succinct

One of the most obvious time saving tips is to "Be succinct".

People understand easier and things are more clear if they are said in less words. Less is more when it comes to writing or speaking.

As technology has evolved - email and texting, I notice people have gotten better at keeping things short. I find it cute to read writers from a long time ago and note how they tend to say less using more words.

Saying more in less words is a sign of high intelligence. It is respectful of peoples' time. It tends to be more easily understood which is one of the main points of communication.



There are lots of quotations on this topic (and note the years and how language has evolved):

Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words.
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Aprocrypha

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
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John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

A multitude of words is no proof of a prudent mind.
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Thales (635 BC - 543 BC)

Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.
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Pythagoras (582 BC - 507 BC)

Writers have two main problems. One is writer's block, when the words won't come at all and the other is logorrhea, when the words come so fast that they can hardly get to the wastebasket in time.
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Cecilia Bartholomew

Too many people run out of ideas long before they run out of words.
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Author Unknown

5 Comments:

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

I believe it was Socrates, who said that language was a most inadequate tool for expressing precise thoughts.

Being succinct is great. However, brevity at the cost of gramatically incorrect, conceptually meaningless, incomprehensible messages, which is in vogue, is a total waste of time (and often money). In that regard, I argue that "succinct" (being merely brief, but without the gist) may not be a time saver. Quite to the contrary.

In the definition of succinct, gist plays a central role. The latter, in turn, requires expressing the choicest, most essential or most vital part of an idea. Easier said that done.

Regards,
Alex

 
At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your tips of Outlook useful even though most of them were basic to me. I see though their benefits to some. Ta.

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger Ann F said...

Alex makes an excellent point. Six one line emails back and forth waste more time and effort than one, properly constructed.

Brevity is a skill few have, being succinct fewer. If one simply considers their audience and the point of their email and writes with both in mind the task is easier.

I found a tool in MS Word (Tools, Auto Summarize) that may be useful for the verbose... although I found it inadequate for me.

Good blog, and comment.

 
At 1:47 AM, Anonymous S Woodside said...

Some of the best advice I've seen on email: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4438.html ... in particular -- if you can keep your email to just one line, and use that line as your Subject line, then you are golden. I do it all the time.

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah ! As shakespeare rightly obsrerved : Brevity is the soul of wit.

 

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