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Smart Brevity® powers clear communication

Smart Brevity is a communications formula based on brain science and data that helps you style and format information to be clear, engaging and memorable.


Why Smart Brevity works

We spent years digging into data and learned most folks are:

  • Overwhelmed — checking messages 70-400x a day.

  • Under-informed — missing critical context.

  • Frustrated — ignoring long, impenetrable updates.

  • Tight on time — reading for 26 seconds, on average.

Then we built a format to fix that. Smart Brevity was born in a newsroom and perfected inside hundreds of organizations. The result: clearer updates and happier readers.

See how Delta, WeightWatchers, and others use it

How Smart Brevity works

Let's start with how modern minds work. When we see new content — no matter the type — our brains ask two things:

  • What is this about?

  • Is this relevant to me?

If we can't get to "yes" in about 17 milliseconds, we move on. Smart Brevity leans into that, telling readers "What's new" and "Why it matters" first — always — so they stick with us. The result: stronger engagement and trust.

A framework to get this right

What Smart Brevity looks like

Whether we're reading 10 words or 10,000, if our eyes hit a big block of text, we zone out. Shut the email. Star the tab.

  • Yes, but: There's a winning mix of white space, bolding, images and bullets that will break us out of that haze.

And it works for any form of communication. It's built on insights from eye-tracking labs and years of testing. The result: 40% shorter read times, on average.

Get a sample communication in Smart Brevity

Smart Brevity before and after

See the difference Smart Brevity can make to any internal communication.

Before Smart Brevity

Board of Directors Update

We presented on our progress toward our go-to-market plan in our most recent Board of Directors meeting, Wednesday, including strong product sales over the last quarter within the scope of our beta test, which will allow increased investment in key early growth opportunities across tech and marketing. Plus, with three new manufacturing deals close to closing, Ava’s team is proving their revamped sales pitch was the right move, which sets us up to light our sales pipeline on fire! She got great reactions in the room from the Board.

Back to growth opportunities, we’re updating the second-half roadmap with big investments in the tech team, particularly on the machine learning squad, marketing, to support Ava’s team as they work to capitalize on the early success we’ve seen with the new pitch noted above, and in some exciting new collaborations with firms doing work where we don’t have internal capacity but do have a strategic need to fold missing capabilities into our operations and offering.

This is really exciting stuff, and it’s not only Ava’s team that deserves major credit. We’re seeing historically high sales volumes, and that’s a testament to the whole company. Take a bow, everyone. We were able to “wow” the Board with a report including a 12 percent jump in revenue over the last quarter, which puts us an extraordinary 90 percent of the way to our overall goal for the second half. And that doesn’t include those three pending manufacturing deals. More on those in next week’s update, once we “seal the deal.”

If you haven’t taken time to review Ava’s new sales pitch, we encourage everyone to take a moment to do so. The new talking points went through a lot of pressure testing with focus groups and reflect our best case to date on why our solution is the best in the industry. The materials are available to everyone on the intranet, filed under GLOBAL >> SALES MATERIALS >> PITCH [NEW].

After Smart Brevity

1 big thing: We wowed our Board

We stunned the Board of Directors Wednesday with our 12% Q3 revenue jump, which puts us 90% to goal for H2.

Why it matters: Higher revenue than ever means we can invest in growth areas that will speed up our go-to-market plan by months.

  • New hires: We can now fill key machine learning roles on the tech team and fill out Ava's marketing team, too.
  • Partnerships: We'll also finalize priority deals with two firms to expand key capabilities until we can bring them in-house.

How we did it: Testing, testing, testing. Our product speaks for itself, but it was Ava's new sales pitch — pressure tested over three weeks of focus groups — that got it into customers' hands.

What's next: We're closing in on two big manufacturing deals that should put us over the top for revenue goals — look out for more on those in our next update

💡 Does your writing pass the Smart Brevity test? Get your Smart Brevity score. 

7-part video series

Learn Smart Brevity

Step inside the Axios newsroom for an introduction to Axios HQ and its Smart Brevity communication style. Our seven-part video series unpacks all the tips and tricks you need to experiment with the style in your own internal communications.

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Bring Smart Brevity to life with Axios HQ

Axios HQ is our AI-powered platform that helps organizations learn Smart Brevity and use it in their own internal communications. 

  • Our AI-powered Smart Brevity writing tips help you rephrase, reformat, and style messaging so it is crisp, clear, and easy to scan.

  • Our intentional template design — a single-column layout with white space, numbered headlines, and bright images — guides readers and keeps them focused. 

Axios HQ even has a Smart Brevity Score that ticks up each time you follow one of our engagement-boosting best practices.

Request an Axios HQ demo

Smart Brevity resources

Take your understanding of this powerful formula to the next level with our library of free resources.

Smart Brevity: The power of saying more with less

The creators of Smart Brevity share their transformative methods for punching through the noise to get people to pay attention to what matters most.

Get the book
Smart Brevity Open House

During this free one-hour webinar, a Smart Brevity expert digs into the muscle behind the Smart Brevity style — and the tips you need to apply it. 

Join the next session
Smart Brevity Checklist

This checklist helps you remember the key ingredients of Smart Brevity so your next communication is clearer, more engaging, and memorable.

Get the checklist

Smart Brevity FAQs

What is the Smart Brevity method?

Smart Brevity is a communication methodology used to communicate what matters to staff and stakeholders more effectively. Based on brain science, it uses data to help you style and format information to be smart and impactful so individuals can easily absorb and act on what they read.

Who wrote Smart Brevity?

Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less is a business book written by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz. It teaches readers how to understand and apply Axios' famous Smart Brevity style that makes communications smart, brief, and clear.
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