Expression Compression


“I only made this letter longer because I did not have the time to make it shorter.” 

This quote is attributed to Blaise Pascal; a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher who lived in the mid-1600’s.

Not a lot has changed in over 350 years of communicating. Those who make an impact and get what they need are usually the people able to convey their key messages in ways that can be received, understood and acted on immediately.

We now live in a world where the definition of “longer and shorter” has drastically changed. People now communicate in less than 140 characters, or an emoji. We scan more than we read because there is so much to process.

With email being more than 80% of business communication, and many leaders and employees in need of better writing skills, it is no wonder many teams are stuck. One of the most overlooked, yet in demand, business skills today is the ability to write well and write for impact. This would explain why many companies are recruiting more English majors straight out of college. 

In a typical day you may find yourself writing reports, proposals, letters, emails and even texts to a boss, co-worker or customer. The way you write in all of your communications is a direct reflection of you, your team and your organization. Great communicators and great brands have the ability to engage clearly, efficiently and with purpose. Unfortunately, if you take a look at your inbox of 200 unread emails, chances are you will be sifting through a lot of “long letters” that no one took the time to make shorter. 

Expression Compression. It’s a critical skill I teach my audiences in all of my brand communication sessions. Can you get my attention and keep it for just long enough for me to understand your message, your call to action, and my role in helping you get what you need? If not, then I am going to delete or ignore you because you have not taken the time to only send me what I really need to know, or really need to do.  

Your communication, and the way you respect your audience’s time and attention, is most definitely your brand. If all you do is clog their inbox with long letters, don’t be surprised if people don’t respond to your request. The truth is, they didn’t even read it. And, if they didn’t read it, don’t blame them. Because if you didn’t have time to write a short letter, why should anyone spend their time to read a long one. 

Here’s a few Expression Compression tips that will help you write for greater impact:

1) Make your subject header compelling. Unless it’s from a direct boss, it’s competing with 200 other emails for a reader’s attention. Be creative and relevant.

2) Don’t bury the lead. The first paragraph should state your main idea, or what you want or need. Keep the pleasantries and thought process to a minimum. Remember…200 other emails and a short attention span. 

3) State a Call to Action and Deadline. If you need something, give the date and time you need it. Otherwise, it’s getting filed for later. 

4) Make your communication about one thing. One idea. One action. 

Communication does not guarantee attention. So, remember Expression Compression the next time you get ready to send. Your words are your brand, and more of them don’t necessarily make the brand stronger. It’s actually quite the opposite. 

Stand for Your Brand,

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