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December 01, 2016

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Carlos

Today, more than ever, we are urged to limit the amount of words used to interact with our audience. For example, when I write a Facebook post with a short sentence and an image, the reach and engagement rate of the post, is always greater than if I write a long paragraph articulating the message. Short, clear and compelling is the way to go!

TarynVian

I tend to find that my public health students write too short sentences when making an argument. For example: "Many Zambian women live far from health centers. This makes it difficult to access care. We need to improve access to care. Transportation is a good way to do this." I think a better way to express this idea would be to say. "Many Zambian women live far from health centers, making it difficult to access care. Subsidies for transport could help overcome these difficulties." So while I agree that we don't want to put too much into one sentence, I think it helps to like related ideas (the effect with cause, for example).

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Carlos, thanks for your comment. Facebook is an ideal medium for brevity.

TarynVian, you make an excellent point about sentence flow. Your original student example uses 30 words broken into four choppy sentences. Your revision uses just 22 words in two elegant sentences that guide the reader.

Your point gives me the opportunity to clarify my advice. I will edit my post slightly so it does not suggest that related ideas should not be linked.

Lynn

Michele Fideler

I agree! It takes much more time to write a succinct message than to blab on for several paragraphs, but I appreciate a well-written e-mail.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Michele,

A quote that is attributed to Mark Twain illustrates your point: "“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Lynn

Lalitha

Excellent article! Very informative. We could apply this in day-to-day communications as well. “Don't overload your end user with too much information”.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lalitha, good point!

Lynn

Tasia

I am happy to have found your articles, landed on a page with sound advice and great business writing tips. I am just getting into my major corparate communications, and I plan on using your techniques for my personal research. I look forward to understanding and learning how to become a top business communicator. I am taking business communications this semester, and will incorporate this skills into my journey. I have a long way to go. Thanks for your quizzes and experience.

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