Write Like a Leader Part 7: Write Clearly and Concisely
In part 7 of our Write Like a Leader blog series (if you’re new, feel free to start at part 1), we’re covering how leaders can drive effective action by using writing that assigns clear responsibilities, gets to the point fast, and is emotionally intelligent.
Part 5 of this series helped you understand the importance of putting your message’s bottom line at the very beginning of your email, rather than at the end or hidden somewhere in the middle. Part 7’s concept expands on this: give your readers the immediate information they need to make them continue reading your email, and then give them the necessary details just as clearly, concisely, and efficiently.
Avoid using “fancy” language—it’s just plain hard to read
Compare these three sentences:
A. In order to conduct a successful search, it is imperative that we first form a complete understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the open position.
B. A successful search must be preceded by our complete understanding of the position that must be filled.
C. To deliver the best results for you, we must fully grasp what you require in a candidate.
Option A certainly displays a knowledge of large words—but it also makes the sentence hard to read and its message hard to comprehend. While option B uses simpler sentences and shorter words, making it more concise and readable, it’s still a bit distant and indirect because of the passive voice and the word choices. Option C, though, is personable, direct, and displays a “you” attitude. It uses short, clear words to make it easy to skim and also addresses the reader directly.
What competencies do leaders need to write like option C?
Now that your leaders know the most important style choices to make in their emails, they can take the next step, working on the emotional intelligence skills behind effective written communication:
- interpersonal understanding
To communicate clearly and effectively, leaders need to say what they mean without obscuring it in formal phrases and passive constructions. They need to show empathy for their readers and use easily understandable language. When writing to their own team, understanding and considering other points of view will help them strike the right tone and tailor their message. Finally, accountability—clear assignment of tasks and a commitment to results—will motivate others to read and act upon your leaders’ written word.