I have been fighting the conciseness battle alongside people in my business writing courses. They want to know how to make their writing clear, concise, and friendly–all at the same time.
Sample situation: Sometimes the close of an email, letter, proposal, or memo goes on too long, with sentences like this:
“If you have any questions or concerns about the matter above, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
How would you say the same thing concisely?
Consider these examples:
“If you have questions or concerns, just let me know.”
“I welcome your questions.”
“I am available if you have any questions or concerns.”
“Please let me know if you have any questions.”
“Please email me with any questions or concerns.”
“I am happy to answer any questions.”
“Any questions? Just ask.”
“Got questions? Just give me a call.”
“If you have any questions, just ask.”
This week I was leading a session of How to Write Email That Gets Results, and I offered an email example with “If you have any questions, just ask.” An individual in the class found the sentence abrupt. To me, it came across as concise and clear.
But the individual’s reaction to it reminded me that people read tone into our sentences. An innocent close can be interpreted as abrupt and cold if the message shares bad news or the relationship is strained. Sometimes we must add courteous words–please, thanks, happy to, welcome–to communicate the positive tone we intend.
How do you invite follow-up communication?
Got questions? Just ask.