Improve your writing in 3 minutes or less

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Print out these instructions, save the page somewhere useful, and refer to it the next time you draft a document.

By Danny Rubin | Posted: October 10, 2014

Congratulations! You’re about to receive a makeover.

In April, Twitter announced plans to roll out a new site design, and everyone seemed to think the renovations looked suspiciously like Facebook.

The folks at Twitter didn’t increase their 140-character limit. Why? Less is still more.

Can you condense your message as tightly as possible? Our culture rewards brevity and people who know how to say a lot with a little.

To help everyone stay concise, I created an easy way to improve anything you write. In about three minutes, you will make your work read faster, look sharper and feel more authoritative.

Step one: When you finish your document, hit CTRL + F to bring up the search function.

Step two: Look for these words and delete or change them.

  • very, just and really (remove all three)
  • in order (delete, as in “I did this in order to do that”)
  • that (delete, as in “I believe that you are correct”)
  • quite (delete, excess word)
  • thing (replace with specific word for the “thing”)
  • utilize (switch to “use” or pick another verb)
  • get or got (pick another, more descriptive verb)
  • -ing verbs (“I am writing” becomes “I write)

Step three: Print out the document to check your edits.

Step four: Submit your work confidently!

Danny Rubin writes News To Live By, a blog for millennials that highlights the career and leadership lessons hidden in the day’s top stories. A former TV journalist, Danny uses current events to demonstrate how we can improve our writing, networking, public speaking and all the other real world skills. Follow Danny at @NewsToLiveBy. A version of this article first appeared on NewstoLiveBy. 

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