After I wrote my post on why you should be brief, I received a request for a more practical “how to” series to improve your writing and speaking by being brief.
The first step to being brief is to eliminate unnecessary words. Take the following example:
I went to the store, with my dog, to shop for some groceries.
You have three ways to work with a sentence like this:
1. Eliminate the prepositional phrase, “with my dog” – best if you don’t really need to include the dog in the story
2. Eliminate the redundancy of store and groceries – I went shopping or I went to the store for <something specific>
3. Eliminate the lack of humor – You may wonder why I took my dog grocery shopping? He never knows what flavor of kibbles he wants until he sees them.
Brevity isn’t always about shortening your first draft. It’s really about finding the best way to deliver your message without wasting words or repeating yourself (first draft said “repeating yourself unnecessarily”). Take that first draft and see where you can eliminate the needless words.