Whatever you’re writing, the key to making it a successful and well-received document is to cut away every syllable that doesn’t give your reader new information, advance your case, or clarify your position.

Cut, cut, cut. Be ruthless.

How many words and phrases could you remove from the following sentence without losing any clarity?

In order to make Tuesday’s upcoming staff meeting as productive as it can possibly be, I would ask that you please submit any ideas or questions for discussion topics as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the day today.

You might be thinking, “Come on, Robbie! We’re talking about a few extra words here and there. What’s the big deal?”

How many emails do you read in a typical week at work? How many reports? Meeting agendas? PowerPoint presentations?

Think of the dread you feel every time you see a new email from your colleague who uses five times as many words as necessary to make his point.

Don’t be that colleague. Make your writing lean, to the point and not a word longer than it needs to be.

Delete. Ruthlessly.