“I apologise for such a long letter - I didn’t have time to write a short one.” — Mark Twain.

Accountants (and lots of other professionals, I’m sure) write convoluted documents because they don’t have (make) the time to write clear ones.

If you want YOUR reader to get YOUR message then YOU have to make the effort. They have lots of other things they could be doing instead of reading your report or email so you’ve got to make it easy for them.

After writing something spend a few extra minutes making it better. This means:

  • Cutting out all the ‘throat-clearing’ words — such as the background and context that the reader already knows
  • Replacing jargon with plain language
  • Splitting long sentences and paragraphs
  • Putting the most important information at the top

The return on this investment of time will be huge.