Saturday, February 26, 2005

Style, Part 3: Let Conciseness Rule

Good writers adapt their styles based on their message and audience. They must adapt their style based not on their personal preference but on their reader’s concerns.

"Style, Part 2" urged readers to speak openly about style with their managers. Sometimes people think that their boss has an inconsistent style because one message is direct and the other is deferential. If you are unsure why this is the case, then you should ask your manager. He or she may not realize the inconsistency and make a necessary adjustment. A more likely reason is that the manager changed the style to suit a situation or to reflect a certain relationship with a reader. If this is the case, the manager may explain the tactic and give you a valuable insight into writing to the reader.

Regardless the style one is trying to achieve, remember that conciseness rules; no writer should add words unnecessarily. If the word does not add value, delete it. In the simple example below, note how the addition of the word significantly changes the meaning and, therefore, adds value in the sentence below. Also note how the words In the can be eliminated without changing the meaning:
In the last year, sales increased significantly.
The final installment on style will briefly discuss writing collaboratively.