I remember Jimmy Carr being interviewed once about his style of stand-up comedy. He said that he looks at a joke and trims off all the fat – getting it down to as few words as possible. And it’s true. I watched him on Live at the Apollo the other day. There’s no way you could have told the jokes in any fewer words.
I’m a real fan of brevity. Don’t get me wrong – when it comes to entertainment I enjoy the loquacity of Stephen Fry as much of the next man and I can appreciate beautifully crafted prose. But in the middle of a busy Monday in the office – I want my information and dialogue to be as concise as possible.
I’m sure you get emails like this too. But one email I received today had to be re-read 4 times before I could work out exactly what the writer was trying to say. Ironically enough they were trying to sell me their marketing and communication services!
It’s not just marketing pitches either. An internal email from one of my colleagues recently said:
But it is expected that we indicate the financial details at this point. As I have in previous paragraphs for other parts of arrangement – it won’t suffice to circumvent it
What’s wrong with just saying “I really need to be able to give them some idea of the numbers”
We once had a sales guy here who is now the stuff of legend in the history of KashFlow. Even those that joined years after he left have heard the stories. Every time he had something to say he’d prefix it with a few hundred words of pre-amble which would often lead him down the path of telling some anecdote or another. I’d find myself staring at him in amazement. Even his most patient colleagues would be suppressing the urge to scream “Get to to the point!”.
I’m planning on getting rid of email entirely and replacing it with Twitter. A 140 character limit sounds sublime. That’s the written side of things taken care of – now what about the verbal?