Long Letters = Lost Readership

Molly Gilberts, MPD Team, Communications

“Consider the things that stick with you: The 10 Commandments, the Gettysburg Address, the seven dwarfs….Think long. Write short.”—Carl Sessions Stepp, senior editor, American Journalism Review, and professor, Phillip Merrill, College of Journalism, University of Maryland

Al Neuharth, founder and writer, USA Today writes:

Short is not easy, in writing or speaking. It’s much more difficult.

-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, famous for his fireside chats, said it took him about an hour to write a one-hour speech, but two hours or more to do a 30-minute version.
-Mark Twain reportedly said, “If I had more time, I’d write shorter.”

Getting things short and to the point is the most important thing we should keep in mind in our personal or professional lives. In writing or speaking. From grade school to high school to college to our job.

Long-winded stuff loses the attention of listeners, readers, viewers, friends, even family.

When it comes to newsletters and email communications to your ministry partners, keep Al’s advice in mind. Limit newsletters to one page and emails to 1-2 paragraphs. If that seems too limiting (How can I tell my partners everything that’s happened since I last wrote?), begin thinking of your communication pieces as “best of,” not quarterly recaps.

Contact Molly Gilberts via email at molly.gilberts@navigators.org.

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