I often struggle with conveying more in lesser number of words. As a result, my slack messages often go in multiple paragraphs and bullet points.
I find a need to explain myself in detail, especially when trying to resolve some queries from other domains such as product managers and QA engineers. Are there some ways to make communication succinct and to the point, at the same time conveying what is necessary.
This was a feedback I have gotten once from my manager as well, though when I asked if he had some suggestions on how to work on the same, he mentioned - "Keep it short!" ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Now, I try to vet my messages after I type them before sending, but thinking if there are some ways to improve on it further.
I really like this question as I believe it's pretty broadly applicable among software engineers, and in fact, it's something I've struggled a lot with myself.
First, I recommend the following resources on high-quality technical writing:
And here's my advice:
Here is how I may restate this question:
My slack messages are too long.
How can I shorten them while retaining detail for PMs?
The only feedback my manager gives me is "Keep it short!"
I now review my messages, but would like to improve.
Often I find value in omission. If somebody wants to know more, they ask.
You say that you find a need to explain yourself in detail, and that may be root of the issue. It's not about your needs, it's about the needs of the person asking you the question. Imagine yourself in the other person's shoes, and tailor your message to that audience. The succinctness will naturally follow.
Here's a few things worth investigating further:
Sometimes I tend to use ChatGPT to improve my messages, specially given English is not my first language. It often times makes it more simpler and easier to read. You can also ask it to improve formatting.
PS: You can do something similar but please make sure not to add any sensitive/personal info while asking ChatGPT to improve it
When I need to communicate something that is difficult to put into words, I follow this recipe:
This is exercises clears the mental clutter of your mind and organizes your earned secrets into a simple, digestible explanation that you can use in design docs, PR descriptions, explaining why you're facing a blocker if pressed during standup, 1:1's where you need to give critical feedback and chatting with XFN partners.