Word of the Week

Riitta Suominen   

The word of the week is brevity.

Brevity is an undervalued feature in writing. Especially for business or for work, short text save valuable time for the reader.

However, brevity requires more effort from the writer. If he does devote an additional hour to condensing his work, however, and reduces its length by half, he also shortens reading time for his readers.

If the original text had 850 words, about three printed pages, a typical reader will spend five minutes reading it; the average reading speed is 170 words per minute. Cut that in half, and one hundred readers will save more than four hours in all Ė for this one short piece.

Another way to see this: how many emails and texts does a person encounter during the workday? Saving one minute on average for each of 50 emails could free up close to an hour.

White-collar workers spend much of their time reading and writing. Therefore, much more attention should go to the quality of the text they encounter. That quality affects not only efficiency but also job satisfaction, especially in the public sector.

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