In my experience, the #1 problem with how organizations communicate (especially churches) has nothing to do with their use (or lack) of new technologies. It’s that they don’t take the time to write short things…so they write long ones instead.

Long things that nobody reads. 

“I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to write you a short one.” – Blaise Pascal

It’s a lot harder to say what you want to say in a short letter, rather than a long one. You have to be more thoughtful. You have to decide what’s important and what isn’t. It takes more of your time and energy. But whether it’s the words on your website, in your bulletin, in a speech or in an email, its length communicates a lot. And it could be the key factor as to whether or not somebody reads it or not.

A short letter says to the recipient:  “I care about and respect your time. I’ve bothered to be thoughtful by taking my own time to be decisive and, rather than saying everything, have chosen the most important things I want you to know – and I’ve left the rest out.”

People are distracted and bombarded with information all day long. They have little time for long letters and even less patience for those who are careless with their time.

Right now a lot of organizations say quite a lot. But they communicate very little (nobody reads it). Instead, say less and you’ll communicate more.

Take the extra time to write somebody a short letter, rather than a long one. It’s worth your time and effort. Such brevity is not only the soul of wit, but should be the goal of your writ.

3 comments on “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter

  • I love your pithy article. At first I wrote small paragraphs for my Bulletin Inserts but now I have gotten in the habit of making them a full column long (half a page in my Parish bulletin). Reading through it goes by quickly but it may not seem quick at first glance. It is difficult making them short when there is so much good stuff to reveal about the scripture that I am focusing on.

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