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Communication Feedback Thoroughness

On previous jobs, I was always told that I am an excellent writer. On this job, my manager says he does not have time to read what I write. He told me to cut out all the extra words and get to the point. I do get to the point, but I think it is important to provide the full picture. What do you suggest?

One of the most important elements in communicating is to understand your audiences and tailor your messages to fit their style and preferences. In this case, your manager prefers concise writing. As an excellent writer, your challenge is to pare down your messages until you are left with as few words as possible without impairing the meaning. You can mention that additional documentation is available if your manager would like to see it.

When people do not have the patience, time, or concentration to wade through a prosaic paragraph, you can sometimes reach them by using brief bullet points. On your next write-up for him, put your first draft in paragraph form, and then go back and turn each sentence or two into a bullet point. As you do this, you will automatically see extraneous words, phrases, and sentences being eliminated.

You should also take a look at your managerís writing style. The closer that your writing resembles his in terms of such elements as length, sentence structure, and vocabulary, the more likely he will be to read it. And donít be surprised if he then joins the list of people who say you are an excellent writer.

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