The Benefit of Brevity

Apr 11, 2013 No Comments by

Thomas Jefferson loved to write – not only because he was good at it, but because he knew it to be one of the most effective ways to motivate people toward social progress. jefferson-nickel-coin-head

Prior to serving as the third US President, he was was entrusted by the Founding Fathers to draft the Declaration of Independence – the most focal document of the young American Revolution.

Jefferson’s writing style was direct, yet eloquent. His mark on history is undeniable.

I love this Jefferson quote on brevity:

 041113 Thomas Jefferson One Word Will Do

With a nod toward Monticello, here’s a rule of thumb I try to follow when drafting written communication:

1.  Brainstorm everything that might be a part of the message.

2.  Organize the ideas into a crisp outline. Include a context-setting intro, a logical flow of content and a brief summary.

3.  Edit down the content. My goal is to try cutting the word count in half. (Per Jefferson’s suggestion to never use two words when one will do…)

4.  Review the material with someone you trust. Insist on independent feedback – especially focus on the message’s clarity.

Jefferson knew the power of words well written. 

He also knew the incredible impact of brevity.

The most effective Change Agents follow his example every day.





Change Agent Skills, Change Communication, Change Execution, Change Leadership, Stakeholder Readiness, Team Dynamics

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