The tip “begin with the most important point” from my book The Art of E-Mail Writing has been useful for many of my clients. Suppose you wrote in first draft the following sentence:
If we do not have an extra laptop and when the three rush jobs come into the office simultaneously while we are revising the employee handbook for the company-wide orientation program, which is an executive priority, then, because we will not have sufficient equipment even though we have the needed staff, we may not meet the client deadlines.
Phew! I’m still hyperventilating from reading that one! Even if this 58-word sentence finally makes sense to you, it will have lost all its impact by the time you figure it out. Where is the most important point? At the end—so start there!
We may not meet client deadlines without an extra laptop, even though we have the needed staff. Our office cannot process the three rush jobs on time while meeting the executive priority of revising the employee handbook for the company-wide orientation program.
Notice the decreased word count, now 42 words, and the more powerful word usage—all because you’ve begun with the most important point!