Context, clarity, and brevity are three hallmarks of effective communication. When you're writing or speaking, ask yourself: can this be shorter, yet still as clear? Regardless of the medium, think about what you need to communicate before you commit to your message. Start with an outline if that makes sense. Context: am I giving enough information for the recipient to know what I'm talking about? Clarity: is what I'm communicating as clear as it can be? Brevity: am I getting to the point as directly as I can? Once you have your message, go back and ruthlessly edit yourself one more time, keeping these principles in mind.