Writing awkward-sounding, jargon-riddled compound sentences that run on for lines doesn't make you appear smarter. So what does? Writing more using fewer words. Don’t kid yourself; that takes work. Blaise Pascal (1623–62), 17th-century French philosopher and mathematician, once wrote to a friend. “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter.” My wife’s grandmother defined a “lady” as a woman who studies herself in the mirror before she leaves the house and takes off one accessory. Make that a metaphor for your writing.
Most important, be sure what you write makes sense. The following example, taken from an actual published Letter to Shareholders, does not make sense. The implication here is that along with writing less, you must also write with greater clarity. In this example, the words were already there, so it was more a case of following grandmother’s rule and pruning away the unnecessary ones.