Aristotle believed in the golden mean, the midway point between too little and too much of anything.
Just as wordiness is too much, sometimes brevity can be too little. If you find yourself defending your brief communications, the clue phone is ringing for you.
Recently a friend was justifiably incensed by something he read online. It was a one-sentence condemnation of an organization to which we both belong. When my friend confronted the author, he received a long explanation about what the author really meant. The problem was that meaning could not have logically been extracted from the original three word sentence.
Michelle Obama learned first-hand the dangers of brevity when she commented that she was finally proud of America (my paraphrase). When challenged she explained that she had been proud before, but that she was prouder now…etc. Think of the damage she could have avoided had she added a few words to her original comment.
The lesson? Beware the dangers of brevity. If a message is important, explain it. Concise communication is easier to misinterpret than wordy communication. If you can’t hit the golden mean, aim for communicating a little too much rather than a little too little.