Less is more, not more is more

 Oct 15, 2014

I know that I have sometimes felt unsure of myself, or of my audience’s knowledge, around a particular topic when writing or speaking with them, and have made the fatal mistake of communicating everything I know in an effort to be helpful. To be honest, this has also had an impact on my time management, so I thought I’d share why I believe "less is more" and not the other way around. Business writing has to meet some critical objectives. The first is that it be read and understood quickly, given that "time is money" and we’re an impatient lot. Being succinct is at the heart of the matter and even layout can make a difference, for example:
  • Sticking to key points
  • Using bullets, and
  • Favouring short paragraphs
Secondly, going into the details and minutiae of every aspect can be tedious; I find that people will certainly ask me if they need more information. Thirdly, if I want my reader to absorb my message, then making sure that I don’t switch them off by overloading them with unnecessary words, is a giant step forward. For example, instead of saying "At this point in time," surely "Now" or "Currently" would work equally well. Verbal communication is also fraught with potential misunderstandings and the whole "you said…" and "I thought you meant…" is an everyday occurrence. When time is precious, I find it helpful to think before I speak and focus on critical points. I usually consider:
  • My objective
  • To whom I am speaking
  • What their level of understanding is, of the topic, or context?
The bonus of "less" is a perception by the audience that I am respectful of their time and intellect. The bonus for me is that I communicate more effectively, save time by having fewer misunderstandings and repetitions, and consequently waste less time. And that’s why, happily, I believe that "less is more."

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About the Author:

Fee Hosking  

With over 24 years experience as a trainer, Fee is one of our most senior Professional Development trainers at New Horizons Sydney. With a professional background as a management consultant in the South African manufacturing industry, Fee brings credibility, experience and authenticity to all of the subjects that she trains. She has the ability to engage professionals from the junior to the senior level. Bringing great energy to the classroom, Fee ensures that the learning experience for all who attend is an enjoyable one, which in turn makes it a truly impactful one.

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