Concise vs. Verbose a Battle of Styles

Being Concise

Concise writing is fast, easily read, and memorable.

  • Organize the information.
  • Get to the point and avoid embellishment.
  • Respect your reader’s time and intelligence.

Being Verbose

Verbose writing is at once easier and harder than concise writing.  While it does not require the discipline of concise text, it must engage the reader’s interest and hold on to it by any means necessary.  Having a sense of voice, or using story telling techniques are handy means to naturally engage a reader’s interest.

It is best to break up your verbose writing into blocks so that it is less daunting to approach and to give the reader time to consider all that is said.  As where concise writing practically attacks a reader, forcing them to consider exact points, a verbose text has the advantage of engaging a reader’s imagination and encouraging them to add their own thoughts and ideas.

A great advantage of verbose text is the ability to add nuance and/or exacting detail to the subject at hand.  Qualifying words such as: mostly, partly, somewhat and so forth can easily clutter up a point, or they can help the reader understand that the issue at hand is not black and white.  For complicated subjects an attempt at being concise while offering great detail will often numb the readers mind and disengage them from the task of leaning.  The human touch of conversational text can actually help focus attention on very technical subjects.

A great many traps await those who indulge in long winded prose.  For example, it is easy to lose focus, wandering from one topic to the next while the reader wonders, “What is the point of all this?”  When you are taking a long diversion from your core topic, be sure to create textual sign posts that keep the reader aware of where you are taking them and why.

All good things, no matter how long, must come to a conclusion and it is important you offer the reader a satisfying end to their journey.  This naturally satiates the human desire for narrative construction that reflects the patterns of their lives.  The reader will be much more likely to remember what you have said and to reflect upon it long after they are done reading.


5 Responses to “Concise vs. Verbose a Battle of Styles

  • Hugo Höfer
    7 years ago

    Very intriguing topic and thoughts. I believe some people are concise to create a cool image and be more prestigious socially. Being verbose makes you vulnerable to be ridiculed and if the other person speaks relatively less it puts you in a disadvantageous position (prestige vise). Also, the more someone knows about you the easier they can attack you, choosing your weakest point among many.

    Anyways, let me know what you think, Hugo

  • Thanks for the comment Hugo,

    I had not considered the issue of social prestige. Personally, I like to talk a lot and find it challenging to speak and write concisely. Certainly the more you say, the more opportunities there are to be criticized. You could say that being concise has the danger of being misunderstood which could also lead to criticism. I find that anyone seeking to attack you, will find a way to do it no matter what your behavior is. They will find something to latch on to, even if they need to invent it.

    And yes, the more someone knows about you, the easier it is to make an attack. Much of this blog are my personal views and I has certainly occurred to me that it makes me more vulnerable. None the less, I tend to have confidence that whatever comes my way, I will be able to handle in some fashion so it is a risk I have decided to accept.

    When I wrote this I didn’t have those thoughts in mind. My focus was on how to best get a message to an audience and I wanted to reflect my points both in what I said, and how I said it.

  • Hugo Höfer
    7 years ago

    I like to utter myself too rather “long winded” than concise. Interesting point how concise requires skill not to be misunderstood. I realized the same vulnerability u mentioned with your blog in my vlog.

    Its interesting, whenever I have a social media convo with my serial entrepreneur mentor he is often very brief when texting. This drove my curiosity why he does this… Do you have Instagram? Cool talking to you, Hugo

  • I don’t use instagram, though I’ve been meaning to in order to promote my travel site.

    In business, some people simply want to be quick and efficient. Also, a short message is more likely to be read than a long one.

    I learned that the best way, is to learn what kind of communication your audience likes. Those who don’t want to read long messages should get short ones. Those who appreciate getting all the details should get longer communications.

    One technique I use is to start a message with a short and concise statement that has the essential information. Then I offer a longer explanation below that. I’ll mark them summary, and explanation. That way those who want a short message can just use the summary. And those who want all the details can read the full message.

    Please feel free to link your Vlog in the comments if you care to. I don’t get a lot of traffic on this post but you never know. 🙂

  • Hugo Höfer
    7 years ago

    Very very cool to hear your perspective and approach to it. Definitely something I will consider when communicating in the future. Last question; how do I know what people prefer, just because someone writes concisely does that mean they like short responses? I don’t vlog anymore, it was more a thing I tested for a summer. Great challenging and learning, experience but not for me, maybe blogging?:) If you’d like, feel free to add me on facebook instead – Hugo Höfer 17