In this day of smartphones, 140 character messages, if your marketing message doesn’t get to the point right off the bat, you risk losing your audience.  Too many people, as journalists like to say, bury their lead.  In other words, people begin their communications in the middle with the details, the facts and then eventually get to the point.  Unfortunately, their audience never really hears their point because they have moved on to something else or worse, have misunderstood their intent.

How can you avoid doing this? Three simple tips.

1) Think Before You Communicate

Before hitting send or picking up the phone, ask yourself why you are communicating in the first place.  Do you want someone to come to a meeting?  Do you want to let someone know that a situation has changed and therefore this will require something different from them?  Are you asking them to do something for you?  Be clear about your intention.

2) Lead with Your Most Important Point.

Your first sentence should tell your reader what you want.  For example:  “Please join us for a mandatory meeting about the future of the company on Tuesday at 3 p.m.”  is much better than  ”Our company has hit hard times and all of us need to think about how to turn around the situation and move toward profitability once again.  With that in mind, there is a meeting to discuss our future next week.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday at 3 p.m. and it is mandatory.”   The second one states clearly and quickly why they are writing, conveys urgency and then sets the stage for more information and detail that could follow.

3) Use Short Sentences.

Need I say more.  Long, compound sentences are confusing and hard to follow.

And as a reader, be advised that some folks just won’t follow the above tips.  Try to read through the whole communication.  You might miss the most important stuff, which just happens to be at the end.