It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book: Friedrich Nietzsche Image Credit: Prateek Kaytal

Last few years have witnessed an enormous proliferation in the modes of communication and has afforded an opportunity to all and sundry to, well, communicate. Everyone desires to make an instant impact on the communication platform he is on.

That impact is possible only with a certain level of knowledge and expertise on the given issue. It calls for a great deal of effort and commitment. Contemporary mankind (womankind too) has an irrepressible urge to sound profound even when they are short on these attributes viz. knowledge and expertise.

The rapid dissemination of news ensures that there are always issues that can be illuminated with one’s erudition. This would all be very well but since most of these issues are short on relevance, there is an attempt by authors to make up for lack of substance with verbosity.

At this point in time can easily be replaced (this very moment) by a humble ‘now’. That will cause an inevitable loss of four words but is likely to cause only one-fourth the drag on the reader. This notwithstanding, another shortcoming that a lonely ‘now’ suffers from is a serious lack of depth and weight. That said, all burning issues that afford an opportunity to express one’s insight must ‘allow’ for this little attempt at word-reduction.

This word-excess is usually due to the fact that use of simple word may not sate a discerning reader’s appetite just ‘because’ of its earthy simplicity. A multitude of words lend a hallowed aura to a run-of-the-mill expression and help it rise above the ‘ordinary’.

Any substantive conversation has a requirement for liberal use of substantial vocabulary and making even an ordinary impact on the readers will invariably ‘need’ an extraordinary wordiness. After all a conversation isn’t merely that but a means of engaging the listener and also ‘to’ impress him, by the word in its wasteful abundance.

In accordance with the principles of written communication ‘under’ current circumstances, one must underscore the importance of an issue by laying adequate ‘emphasis’. This necessarily demands use of copious vocabulary since comprehensive explanations ‘require’ words and more words. In the near future one might see a computer software that would autocorrect a mundane piece of text into an exotic work of linguistic art and very ‘shortly’.

Friends, brevity has had its own protagonists. From a Cicero who thought it was a great charm of eloquence to a Shakespeare to whom it was the soul of wit, or a Thomas Jefferson who considered it the greatest talent if one could use one word for two. Brevity is really the essence of an effective communication. It is a fine attribute that keeps the reader’s attention by respecting his attention span, cuts flab in a discourse, lends a conversation an exciting quality and is a remarkable measure of the writer’s word-efficiency.

Brevity comes at a cost. One has to be prepared to forego an opportunity to indulge in bombast, impress by sheer grandiloquence and sometimes lose the cover that a pile of verbiage provides an uncertain author.

So, convey your thoughts in as few words as possible. Not only will this make the conversation precise but also make it pain-free for the reader.

Simply put, be brief.

Dr Rakesh Maggon is a specialist ophthalmologist with an interest in literature