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Communication skills: Conciseness


In Time-Management, a permanent issue with the top officials, we say Avoid Intruders since they consume precious time in an unproductive way. In the same way, in achieving conciseness in communication, we say strictly avoid useless qualifiers which do not actually convey any fact.  For example, let us take this sentence. In the performance he was extremely splendid surpassing all by leaps and bounds. What does ‘extremely’ convey in terms of fact. Whatever feeling the speaker wants to convey, say high level of admiration for the performance, the word splendid brings out. Extremely does not actually add any new piece of information. It may be said in defence that the word extremely lays emphasis on the merit of performance. You can see it is superfluous; ‘splendid’ contains the emphasis on merit also. Of course one can ask what harm is there in using this word; true, no harm is there either to the speaker or to the listener; all the same. It is superfluous and it might suggest that the speaker or the writer does not have good sensibility in knowing what is necessary and what is not.

To give some more floating qualifiers: , really,  probably, very, definitely, somewhat, kind of, extremely, practically. A way to learn the uselessness of these qualifiers is trying to use them and feel for them. It is the feeling that matters.

Next important fact here is use of active voice. Passive voice sentences are used where the action is more important than the one who acts; they are proper in scientific experiments. Perhaps, you may remember your lab experiences in schools and colleges.  When you write your practical notes, you are taught to use passive voice sentences.  Water is poured in the Test tube and is heated till the water reaches boiling point. Here you can see the action is important and not the actor, so to say. When you write asking for clearing the due from your business partner, you should not say, You are requested to clear the long-pending dues. This is not a correct sentence. We request you to clear the long-pending dues. In the first sentence you do not seem to give respect to your business partner and  in the second sentence you show proper courtesy by yourself requesting  and not making an indirect request. In effective business communication, why even in ordinary communication with your relatives and friends, it is always good to use active voice sentences.

We have seen all the very significant facts in conciseness-skill and we shall move on next skill required for effective communication.

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