Why science tells you to write short

There’s something consultants in professional services call the ‘thud test’.

It goes like this: you write a report for a client, print it out, hold it a few feet above your desk and then let go. If it doesn’t make a THUD, it needs more padding to justify the enormous fee.

This instinct to give our audiences more information rather than less is deeply ingrained in our psyches. So deeply ingrained, in fact, that behavioural scientists have given it a name: information bias.

But it’s unhelpful. There’s plenty of evidence that shows too much information makes it harder for us to make decisions.

And even if there’s no decision to make, nobody likes reading waffle. They just want you to get to your point.

And then stop.

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