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3 Tips for More Effective Business Communications

Joe Pantigoso is a Senior Director of Global Brand at SAP, a leading software company, and an alum of Columbia's Strategic Communications masters program.

Have you heard the expression: Too Long; Didn't Read (acronym; TL;DR)?

I get tons of e-mails daily that get this classification.

So here are 3 tips for more effective business communications so it doesn't happen to your work.

1. Get to the point

There’s an expression in journalism: “Don’t bury the lede.” This advises writers to put the most important points up front, letting your audience know why you’re communicating and how it will help them right away.

It may sound obvious but it’s often not practiced.

Imagine an e-mail you received where you only needed to read the first sentence and you'd know what it was about and what you had to do.

Imagine an e-mail you received where you only needed to read the first sentence and you'd know what it was about and what you had to do."

2. Cut the fat

Next, eliminate words. Get rid of any unnecessary modifying words such as very, truly, definitely and really.

If there are long descriptive phrases, simplify them.

Then, consolidate by putting likes with likes. This article, for example, used to have five points but I consolidated to three — which makes them easier to remember and act on.

Consolidate by putting likes with likes."

And then — leave something out. It sounds odd but after trimming, your communications may still be too long. Like with movie editing, good scenes may need to get cut. This is the hardest part and requires judgment. Ask yourself: what does the audience need to know? The rest can go.

3. Sleep on it

Write one day and review the next. Editing with a well-rested mind can make a big difference. Doctors operate in the morning for a reason. Plan for that extra time in your schedule.

So for more effective communications, consider these 3 steps:

1) Get to the point
2) Cut the fat
3) Sleep on it

No TL;DR for you.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any other person or entity.

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