Cut to the Chase

Words are everywhere. But is anyone reading them?

Tamrah Chalom

Category: Strategy


In a fast-paced world with 24-hour news, perpetual notifications, and information overload, no one has time to read the full story. In their book, Smart Brevity, Axios co-founders Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz share a universal writing framework to successfully engage any target audience.

Whether you’re presenting to a client, messaging a coworker, or conversing with family, this framework will help you cut through the noise and get your point across.

01. Muscular tease
A few words that grab attention

02. Strong first sentence
A short, sharp, memorable sentence articulating the main point

03. Why it matters
Context on the bigger picture, and why your point matters

04. Opportunity to learn more
The choice to go deeper and read more 

Being thoughtful about your communication is paramount for your message to be heard. NJI President & Founder Josh Shultz recommends providing all relevant information up front to capture the attention of the audience, while recognizing people are busy. “Communicating efficiently is about respecting people’s time. Everyone is busy, and if you are thoughtful about people’s time, the way you’d think about your own, it’s mutually beneficial,” said Shultz.  

Smart Brevity challenges you to make emails more digestible, cut extraneous words from slack messages, and be more direct in meetings. That can mean:

  • bolding key takeaways
  • compartmentalizing content
  • breaking paragraphs into bullets
  • trimming down presentations
  • minimizing words on slides
  • replacing superfluous meetings with email updates

And it doesn’t end there. Intentional communication outside of the workplace can save you time and energy with family and friends. No matter your audience or platform, boiling down your communication to one big takeaway will help you win attention and get your point across

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