Introduction to Concise

Delivering Complete Messages as Efficiently as Possible

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Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage, “time is money.” When it comes to doing business, that certainly is true. And business professionals don’t want to waste any of either one. Instead, they want to be efficient as possible, using the minimum amount of resources needed to complete the job at hand. They want to manufacture quality products without wasting raw materials. They want to provide excellent customer service without scheduling too many employees for a shift. They certainly want to communicate effectively without wasting time speaking, writing, reading, or listening to more words than necessary.

Whether it is email, presentations, reports, or any other kind of message, business professionals prefer shorter to longer. In fact, many professionals are quick to admit they won’t read any email that requires them to scroll down. Hiring managers will stop reading cover letters that are too long. Some executives forbid their management team from presenting more than one slide at meetings. When one of our colleagues was in his first professional job, he left a voicemail message for his boss that was so long that he got cut off and had to call back to finish his message. The boss threatened to fire him if he ever again left a message long enough to get cut off by a beep. (He never did.)

Impatience with long messages underscores the importance of not wasting time—and not wasting words. But it’s not just impatience. Business consultant Joseph McCormack identifies chronic information overload, shrinking attention spans, and a glut of daily interruptions as key drivers for being more concise in all our communication.[1] Business professionals simply don’t have the time or mental energy to attend to long messages.

For these reasons, competent business communicators strive to be concise. Concise refers to the ability to present complete messages as efficiently as possible. As a result, concise message are faster for receivers to process and act upon and that is good for business. In this chapter, you will learn strategies for communicating more concisely.


  1. You can read more here: Joseph McCormack, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2014).


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Business Communication: Five Core Competencies Copyright © 2023 by Kristen Lucas, Jacob D. Rawlins, and Jenna Haugen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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