One of the biggest communication challenges is being concise.  People in the EU Bubble find this is really tough. How can we boil down our content from pages and pages of stuff, to paragraphs of less stuff? To 250 characters. And why do we need to? Answer – because our readers are busy people, multitasking, hybrid working with better things to do than study your writing.

So, imagine you work for an association or in corporate public affairs and you have to report back to your members or corporate executives who are paying your bills. Here is a draft note from a crucial meeting that you have just had with influential decisions makers at the Commission.

“Yesterday we met with Deputy Head of Unit from DG CLIMA and her team to present to them and discuss proposals that we have prepared for the upcoming carbon neutral conference that is taking place in September 2022 as well as their influenced amendments to a draft Directive on decarbonisation that is part of the European Green Deal initiative.”

Seem familiar?

This is a typical note from a meeting. One sentence of 59 words with four very common problems in writing.

  1. Wordy phrases:  ”….the upcoming carbon neutral conference that is taking place in September 2022″

2. Double verbs:  “to present to them and discuss proposals”

3. Unnecessary detail:   “proposals that we have prepared for the upcoming carbon neutral conference”

4. Sentence which rolls on and on:    “……….as well as their influenced amendments…..”

Here is a new version where have chopped out the repetitions and lots of the other obvious stuff. This time 34 words in two sentences, more direct and easy to read.

“Yesterday, we presented our carbon neutral conference proposal to the Head of Unit and team at DG CLIMA. We also suggested changes that may influence their work on the decarbonisation Directive (due in 2023).”

But there is still more we can do.

The new version is fine but we are not giving our readers the sentiment. Was the meeting successful? Are the signs hopeful? Or are there big risks coming down the line? Here is a new version where I have included my sentiment – how should you feel about this? Also when can we expect any updates on matters outstanding?

“Yesterday, the Head of Unit and team at DG CLIMA expressed support for our carbon neutral conference proposal (taking place September). Also, we suggested ideas for the refined Directive on decarbonisation and expect to know their intentions by end of this month.”

Training? Go on – treat yourself and your staff

Give your readers insight and the benefit of your critical thinking not just reporting. OK, here is the commercial part. At Formative Communications we help staff to be able to identify these critical ideas from their meetings and train teams on how to express these in clear, crisp writing. These are vital skills for your staff, your organisation, your industry.

Contact us at info@formativecoms.com for details of our in-person and online training programmes.