There's a lot of new ideas that are worth listening to, but sometimes you have to look to the past for real wisdom - I like to call it 'old man knowledge'.

I read in some book last week that over 70 years ago Winston Churchill was getting frustrated with the amount of fluff he had to read in reports and papers so that he could keep up to date with everything that required his attention.

So to save time and the frustration of reading long-winded and overly verbose documents he sent out a one page memo to his cabinet entitled 'Brevity' consisting of four main points.

1. The aim should be reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs.

2. If a report relies on detailed analysis or some complicated factors, or on statistics, these should be set out in an appendix.

3. Often the occasion is best met by submitting not a full-dress report, but an aide-memoire consisting of headings only, which can be expanded orally if needed.

4. Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrase, even if it is conversational.

This is a call to focus your attention on the needs of the reader. Time is pressure and brain processing power is limited.

Keep things 'skimmable' so that the key points can be located and digested easily... I try to apply this all communications, from how I talk at networking events, to emails and proposals.

And of course to blog posts like this.