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  • Writer's pictureNancy K. Napier

WRITING WITH IMPACT: The Power of Being Concise, Clear, and Compelling

Writing with Impact

Be honest. Do you read incoming emails longer than what you see on the screen? Most of us scan and skim, but may not read. We blame shorter attention span, overwhelming information, and lack of time.

So how can you convey “must read” information? The solution takes time but has a big payoff.

Remember Mark Twain’s comment? “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one.” Indeed. It’s easier to ramble than to be concise, clear, and compelling. But if you want people to read, you have to.

Our Executive MBA program asks participants to respond in short prose to very messy questions like: “how does your organization decide which markets to enter?”

The executives write “One-minute-briefs.” OMBs take a minute to read but much longer to write. They are single-spaced, 200-220 words in Times Roman, 12-point font. That’s about half a page or what’s on your screen without scrolling.

Here's the structure:

  • Why this topic matters?

  • What is it?

  • So what? What happens now?

With practice, people get better and find a huge payoff: others READ the email, the memo, or hear the “elevator pitch.” And take action.

Try it.

P.S. Note how I wrote this: why concise writing is important; what is it—OMB content and structure; and the action: “Try it.”

P.P.S. I apologize that this is longer than 220 words. It’s 237. Mark my grade down.

Nancy K. Napier

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