3 tips for writing succinctly

It all comes back to the cardinal rule of omitting unnecessary words.

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Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Whether you’re shooting an email to your boss or drafting a campaign speech, succinct writing is essential. The goal of writing concisely is to communicate your message as efficiently as possible—a difficult feat even for experienced writers.

Trim your writing with these tips:

1. Use powerful, specific words.

Writers often use weak, vague words. Replace ambiguous language with powerful, specific words.

Wordy: The president discussed many of the benefits of integrating social media into the public relations strategy in his quarterly report.

Succinct: The president lauded the PR team’s social media efforts in his quarterly report.

By replacing vague words with stronger language, the new sentence expresses the same idea in fewer words.

2. Avoid jargon.

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