Be concise

Get straight to the point. Often your first draft will wander around the main idea, especially at the start. It can be very helpful to ask yourself where the first key point is, and then take out everything before that.

Cover one theme per paragraph and one key idea per sentence. Cut out unnecessary words or sentences. Aim for two to four sentences in each paragraph and sentences with an average of 15 words or fewer. The less words you use, the more likely it is that your message will be read and understood.

Often your first draft will be the longest, because you are concentrating on getting all your ideas down.

Once you have done the first draft, look for ways to make it shorter and simpler.

Tip: Use Word's tools: Check the average sentence length and readability of your Microsoft Word or Outlook document using the spelling and grammar check tool. But remember that this tool is just a guide – you are the best person to judge if you need to rework your writing.