Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century mathematician and philosopher, once apologised for the length of a letter, saying that he had not had time to write a shorter one.
All of us face situations where we need to compress much information into little space. Perhaps we have to fill in an online form with a character limit or write a cover letter for a job application which sells our key skills and life experience in just a page or two. Or perhaps we are writing a mass email to colleagues which we want to stand a chance of actually being read. Yet many people fall prey to verbosity. They pile up facts rather than deploying them as weapons; their best thoughts are buried under the weight of futile phrases. One reads what they have written with a single thought hammering repeatedly in one’s head: Why are you telling me this?
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