April 21, 2024

Brevity Rules


Those of you that know me have come to understand that I prefer to cut to the chase, and I can’t stand meetings. I like to get to the root of an issue as quickly as possible.

While I appreciate and sometimes put into practice wonderful word pictures, or subscribe to the academics who can wax eloquent while always using the best form of prose, I prefer my communication to be quick and dirty.

Here’s the short way of saying it? Make every word count.

Screens dominate our time. Some of us sleep with our phones – like under a pillow. We check e-mail like it’s a cocaine dispenser. We’re addicted. Our web browser has four tabs open, or more. Notifications and distractions ding us all day long.

We are facing an all-out war on our attention.

We have hundreds of TV channels, DVRs backed up with our favorite episode, a subscription to Netflix and a multiplex theater nearby. Every minute another 24 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube.

How do you compete with that?

Well in a word: BREVITY.

Here are some ways. They all involve the use of brevity.



Keep your sentences compact. People don’t have time to dissect your flowery prose, especially in business.

Short, punchy sentences which help people stay on target with you.



Make your stuff easy to share. Keep your content to two lines. Add a short, clever caption or text overlay to your pictures. Keep your videos to 45 seconds (on some occasions anyway).



E-mail messages need to fit into a smaller package.

Two hundred words should be the max.

If you need more, then it’s a document, not an e-mail–or it’s a phone call or even a face-to-face visit. Oh, and put the actionable part at the top once, and at the bottom a second time. We’re all scanning.



Make your videos two minutes or less, on average. If it’s something you want people to consume, stay under two minutes.



Keep the call brief.

Start with an agenda, even if you don’t state it out loud.

Write it down beforehand so you don’t ramble.

Be polite, but don’t waste five minutes on small talk.

And if you get voice mail? Leave your full name, phone number and the subject of the call, then say your number once more before hanging up.


We get so wrapped up in telling people too many things all at once that our audience gets sidetracked. I think if we want people to follow us for a long time, we need to keep them waiting and wanting for what’s comes next. In order to that, keep it short.

Brevity rules!

Need writing help, or guidance for how to write your emails, blog posts, Facebook updates or even how to develop a script to keep you on track for your Youtube videos? 

We got it all covered inside of our Daily Marketing Coach program. 

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About Eric Walker

Eric is an 80/20 Marketing staff member and marketing collaborator. He spends his days writing content and copy for a marketing purpose. Eric is an optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. If you have a question, and/or would like to communicate with Eric directly, email Eric@8020MarketingInc.com


  1. Well said Eric. There is not enough hour of the day and we still want to learn. This blog spoke reality. It was very useful. Thanks Elvira

  2. Carol Shreffler says:

    An excellent post, Eric.

  3. This is great! I love short and sweet. Makes it so much easier to process good content.

  4. This is great, Eric. I think this might be one post that I grab and try to recreate in my own words. Thanks a million. Gotta keep this short. bye, Amy

  5. Hi Eric, thanks for these great points. I have been doing a lot of text messaging to parents in a sporting club I am involved with. The need to keep the message down to 160 characters is a challenge sometimes. On the flip side, it has made me think much more about brevity.

    I say what I need to say in a much more concise fashion which is not only remembered by the readers but appreciated. I will say that again. My audience REMEMBERED my message detail, which it what we are after aren’t we?

    I just need to do the same in may marketing communications now.

    Ross Freiberg.

  6. Always watching the word count, refining, keeping the meaning, ditching the extras. This is a keeper.
    It’s a mile deep and my road map for 2014. Great stuff!

    • Hi Courtney,

      After awhile you won’t watch word count. The “brevity rules” will come more and more naturally. In the meantime, keep an eye on word count with the focus toward brevity. Looking forward to your shorter posts.

  7. I agree that this is the best way you capture people’s interested, but you can’t base everything on it. You must take them deeper in your funnel and offer longer training that give just as much value, if not more.

  8. 4 tabs? I’ve got 12 and that was after I cleaned up my browser significantly last night. I agree about everything, but the phone calls… I wouldn’t say do small talk but if I am talking to a new potential client and I want to get to know them and a little bit about them first, so I may not necessarily rush to the business talk right off the bat.


  9. Kim Brillon says:

    I can’t agree with this more!! It irritates me to open an email, blog post or video that just drags on making me search for the “point” of it all.
    Thanks for the message Eric.

  10. Love your message. Would you please call my paster and mention the concept to him!

  11. Great post! Take the time to formulate what you want to say and refine.
    Les Brown says great communicators say more with fewer words.
    I believe it was George Washington who once wrote,
    “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”

  12. Excellent writing tips for all platforms, Eric. Thank you.

  13. Wordsmithing, copy to engage in 10 seconds or less. Might even print this for reference.

    True to your word.


  14. I agree with you. Most times I struggle trying to put my thoughts in brevity. Am learning to use picture with words. Thanks for the tips and enjoy reading your articles/messages.

  15. I struggle with this so often, so this was a great read. Esp makes twitter a challenge! I didn’t know if my post on today’s blog was too wordy towards the end, but I did keep it short and sweet in between images to keep them moving and scanning with ease. Would love your opinion!
    Thanks Eric!

  16. I am the first to love sitting and hearing a well spoken, good story that may take a while to express. It is truly a work of art, storytelling.
    However, usually our days are so full that we really just need to learn quickly and get to the point.
    Love your post Eric, Thanks.

  17. Absolutely Eric… We live in an A.D.D. and “Instant” society! But, I will say that when you provide HUGE value, the audience will stick around for a few more seconds longer… Haha =)

    Thanks for the great post!

    Greg Agustin Jr.

  18. Ellen Hartle says:

    Thanks, Eric. I posted this to facebook and my google circles.great article

  19. Fanny Patino says:

    Great tips for a new blogger like me. Thanks


  1. […] meaning” content brief. “Keep it simple” means short and to the point. Brevity rules. As I said, marketing is making meaning. Do it daily and keep it brief and to the […]

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