Directness and Conciseness

In this article though it emphasizes on writing of written communication (letter) it is also equally applicable to e-mail and other electronic communications. Transmission of maximum information by using a minimum of words should be the aim in letter writing. If the writer writes clearly and concisely what the writer wishes to say, he/she will be able to arrest the attention of the reader and focus it on the message. Avoid unnecessary details and roundabout expressions and come to the point directly. Remember that people are busy and they receive dozens of letters/ messages daily. It will be irritating for them to go through long introduction and preliminaries. Do not forget that a letter/ communication in writing is a means of contact between two persons. When the writer meets a person after greeting him he must straight away come to the point. Adopt the same approach when the writer a letter.

The message is lost in a mere jungle of words in the following passage:

In point of fact, it is worth placing on record that a high proportion of the assignment given to our agricultural engineering students in this locality were performed by them in a highly satisfactory manner whether regarded from the point of view of the experience they gained or the contribution they made to the firm’s productivity. The only instance of a firm failing to provide the kind of training positions required was in the case of Swastika Tractors who expressed their complete inability to offer vacancies in connection with project work in spite of the fact that we had requested no more than two training places.

We can rewrite the above passage as follows to make it more effective:

A large number of assignments given to our students were performed by them satisfactorily. They gained experience and contributed to the firm’s productivity. Only Swastika Tractors were unable to provide the two training places we had requested them for this project.

The following excerpt from a letter suffers from a similar defect:

We are in receipt of the your esteemed favor of 14th instant and in reply beg to advise the writer that we have written to our head office in Mumbai. On hearing from them we shall be in a position to communicate to you our exact and considered decision.(47 words)

We can put the same information in a much better form as below:

Thank the writer for the letter of 14 September. We have written to our Head Office in Mumbai and shall let the writer know our decision on hearing from them.(28 words)

In conclusion we would like to advise that in business correspondence the shorter and to the point letter or communication will help the receiver to understand clearly and send a prompt reply or take action what is intended by the sender of the message. If the original message is lengthy and round about words then the receiver may get confused and generate in between correspondence seeking clarifications from sender which may delay the process of taking action.