What if every professional communication you saw was:
- So short it could fit on one screen.
- So clear you knew what was needed.
- So consistent you could see progress and priorities across the company.
The answer: Teams would have all the essential updates they need to stay productive and in sync. That’s a pipe dream for a lot of leaders, but it’s possible with Smart Brevity®.
Let’s start with what 100s of leaders have told us. Their company updates are inconsistent at best. They land at different times, in different formats. Some are a source of critical data. Others ramble on to no real end.
- All that adds up to wasted time and missed opportunities.
Smart Brevity is a communication formula we’ve been testing and perfecting for years. It’s built by journalists — to prioritize essential news, explain its impact on readers, and deliver both in a concise and visual format.
- What we learned: Smart Brevity doesn’t just work for busy news readers. When we used the same format for our internal comms — like all-staff updates and department news — engagement among busy colleagues started to spike, too.
How it works: Everything we do is in service to smart, engaged colleagues who need essential information — and limited distraction — to keep your business moving.
📈 Raise the bar on what’s worthy
- What we do: Filter out anything a smart reader already knows — it slows them down and dilutes your message — and focus only on the most significant, urgent or actionable information they need to do their job well.
- Why it works: 86% of executives say ineffective comms are the cause of workplace failures. Smart Brevity helps you share information of consequence in the moment those updates are most relevant, so readers make smarter business decisions.
🧠 Prioritize essential details
- What we do: Start every update with “What’s new” and “Why it matters” so readers quickly understand the news and why it’s worth their time.
- Why it works: University studies found readers immediately ask two questions when they see a communication: What is it about? Is it relevant to me? When these details top every update, readers more quickly understand — and remember — your message.
💭 Stay brief and conversational
- What we do: On average, individual Smart Brevity updates are under 300 words and paragraphs are 1-2 sentences — keeping text scannable and preventing reader fatigue. Simple, conversational words speed up read time and comprehension.
- Why it works: Long words and phrases slow readers down. Imagine sending a weekly update to 5,000 employees. Long words or empty details make read time 2 minutes longer than needed. You’d burn 150+ hours of productivity. Smart Brevity gives you that time back.
✍️ Edit and style for impact
- What we do: Keep stories compact — ensuring key elements fit on one screen — and use bolding and bullets strategically to keep readers engaged.
- Why it works: Eye-tracking studies have shown the human eye samples text until it finds something of interest — only then does it actively read. Smart Brevity styling gives your subconscious clear anchor points that pull readers deeper into your update.
📧 Send in a clean, elegant template
- What we do: Use all the visual best practices from Axios newsletters and apply them to internal comms. Templates are clean and easy to scan, with a one-column format that helps promote focus.
- Why it works: We’ve tested and optimized white space, line breaks and image sizes so readers get moments of rest to keep engagement high and clean templates to limit distractions.
The bottom line: We’ve watched Smart Brevity radically transform productivity, alignment and communication inside companies big and small. The principles may seem simple, but together they create a clear, more efficient communication style that works for busy readers.
🗓Go deeper: Sign up for our Smart Brevity Open House to learn the methodology of Axios' Smart Brevity style and specific techniques you can use in your own communications.