Connections, Brevity, and Happiness

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    Welcome to this week’s edition!

    As ever each week we drop a video to help you more productive in work and life, a future of work insight and share our favourite new thing. Let’s get going!

    A few weeks back, we looked at Smart Brevity, a powerful concept documented in the book of the same name, which points out that the vast majority of communications are nowhere near as concise or to the point as they should be. Even though we didn’t come up with it, this very concept has created a lot of discussion here at BillionMinds and with many of you. Of course, if we are going to discuss this topic, we need to do it concisely, so in that spirit, here are our three most often asked questions about being concise.

    Q. Do ALL communications need to be super-short?

    A. Absolutely not. People choose to buy and read novels, and sometimes they are very long. However, when you write, always think with the reader in mind. In most (though not all) communications in a business setting, the primary purpose is to get information across. You want to minimize the chance of the reader not understanding you, and minimize the work they need to do to understand the key points.

    Q. Should I spend extra time making my e-mails or documents shorter?

    A. In 1:1 communications it may not be worth the effort. After all it is just one person reading it, and as long as it’s clear, you are not wasting much of anyone’s time. However, if 100 people are going to read what you write, it may well be worth the extra effort. Regardless, in many cases, a little extra time can help you clarify your own thinking, so it may well be worth it anyway.

    Q. How can I get into this habit?

    A three-stage process can help. Step 1 – in as brief a note form as possible, write down the things that your readers would want or need to know – not what you want to tell them (that is different) but you think would be important to them. Step 2 – is turning that into sentences. Step 3 is reordering those sentences to be most logical to the reader, and which delivers the most important pertinent information up front. If you start to write in that way, you will get pretty good at it pretty fast, and not lose a writing style that helps identify you.


    If you watched the Tip, you will already know! It’s the terrific book – The Good Life by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz. The book documents the results of one of the longest, most comprehensive psychological studies ever, but is written in a very engaging personal style. If you think relationships are just for the extroverts, you are wrong. While the authors are clear-headed about the challenges of staying connected in our modern work and living environments, they also provide practical guidance on how to make sure that you nurture connections to the betterment of you and everyone around you.

    The Tip: Staying Connected

    Video Length: 70 Seconds

    Old school office environments came with a significant benefit that many of us took for granted – close connections with a diverse group of people. Some of our office neighbors may have irritated us for sure, but at least they were there, a constant presence connected by shared work goals. As work has become more distributed, many of us have become more emotionally disconnected from our colleagues, and major studies have shown that being connected is HUGELY important for our overall health. In today’s video we look at how to stay connected when the connections are not coming automatically from the workplace.

    About Us

    BillionMinds bring you Skills for the Future of Work each and every week. But that’s not all we do. We also help employees and managers in companies around the world embed key soft skills to thrive in the modern workplace, and get certified in those skills. Each of our Learn/Do experiences is less than 10 minutes a day and you can see meaningful change within two weeks.

    We work with both companies and individual employees. Certification programs start at $200 and we provide discounts for those seeking work. For more information, visit us here.