Winston Churchill can help your business to boost its profits. Yes, you read that right. The former UK prime minister Winston Churchill certainly made his mark during his lifetime and his advice to the British war cabinet in 1940 is still relevant today.
He advised government employees to weed out jargon from their reports and to write clear, crisp sentences – guiding principles that have been proven to get your message across more effectively and increase profits.
Brevity is the soul of wit
Here is what he said in a memorandum entitled Brevity:
“To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long. This wastes time, while energy has to be spent in looking for the essential points.
“I ask my colleagues and their staffs to see to it that their reports are shorter.
- The aim should be reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs.
- If the report relies on detailed analysis of some complicated factors, or on statistics, these should be set out in an appendix.
- Often the occasion is best met by submitting not a full-dress report, but an aide memoire consisting of headings only, which can be expanded orally if needed.
- Let us have an end of such phrases as these: ‘It is also of importance to bear in mind the follow considerations…’ or ‘consideration should be given to the possibility of carrying into effect…’ Most of these woollyphrases are mere padding, which can be left out altogether or replaced by a single word. Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrase, even if it is conversational.”
Down with officialese jargon
“Reports drawn up on these lines I propose may at first seem rough as compared with the flat surface of officialese jargon. But the saving in time will be great, while the discipline of setting out the real points concisely will prove an aid to clearer thinking.”
WSC, August 10, 1940
If you need help to put Winston Churchill’s advice into action in your business, Clear Eye can help. We’re a global brand communications agency based in Dublin that can make your reports pass the Winston Churchill test. To find out more, get in touch with Clear Eye’s CEO, Margaret, at firstname.lastname@example.org.