September 29, 2022

To paraphrase Mark Twain, sorry for writing such a long letter, I would have written a shorter one, but I didn’t have the time.

Don’t worry, this piece isn’t actually long. I have a point and I’ll get right to it.

These days, business communications are often rambling and unclear. In my experience, leaders are either not putting in the time and effort to formulate and express clear thoughts, or they have some other motive aside from communicating clearly.

In general, clear thinking and communication should be the goal. When Alliance has a new investment on the horizon, we want our investors to understand the key facts so they can make an informed decision. Burying the essential information in a bunch of business-speak doesn’t do anybody any favors.

I see the flip side of this when Alliance is investigating prospective investments. We might want to know about tenants so we can understand credit risk, renewal probabilities, and other pertinent details. Sometimes they give long stories that are light on substantive details.

Long-winded or confusing communication is often used to disguise something, or reflects a lack of advanced thinking on the topic. Leaders may want to seem more competent or in-control than they actually are. Long, complex writing and excessive jargon are key indicators that somebody isn’t being straightforward. Whether these tactics “work” or not, they don’t help get things done.  

People in leadership positions sometimes take it for granted that people will take the time to listen. But mushy communication is a bad practice that taxes other people and undermines productivity. Don’t write a book when 1 page will do.

Got something to say? Great, but do us a favor and get to the point.

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