Lawyers persuade judges when they “communicate clearly and concisely, according to Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner in Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. I believe the same rule applies to your writing.
Why clear, concise writing matters
Why is this important? Because judges, like your readers, lack the time and patience to decipher unclear, wordy writing. “They are an impatient, unforgiving audience with no desire to spend more time on your case then is necessary to get the right result.” Similarly, the readers of your financial blog posts, white papers, or other communications are looking for information to solve their problems. They want to find it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“The power of brevity is not to be underestimated,” say Scalia and Garner. “A recent study confirms what we all know from our own experience: people tend not to start reading what they cannot readily finish.” By the way, the source of that research is Susan Bell, Improving Our Writing by Understanding How People Read Personally Addressed Household Mail, 57 Clarity 40 (2007).
I agree with Scalia and Garner that “Every word that is not a help is a hindrance because it distracts.” I also like their editing suggestion that “The final read-through should be exclusively devoted to seeing whether certain points can be put more clearly, more vividly, more crisply.”
Want to learn more about writing clearly and concisely? Check out my Financial Blogging book or class, and blog posts like “Does your article pass these writing tests?” and “Writing for financial experts.”
Disclosure: If you click on an Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I link only to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.