While new software aims to make emails more concise, a few simple writing tips might be all you need.

Axios this week announced its product to make internal communications more effective, following Vox’s Chorus and other similar platforms. They can help with formatting, writing, targeting and measuring content. But they might not be right for everyone.

Despite the software’s utility, some individuals and small organizations might not be ready to pay the hefty fees. For them, and for anyone else seeking shorter emails, here are five time-tested tips to be more concise:

  • Lead with a purpose statement. Be straightforward and brief in one sentence, setting the stage for the entire communication. If it helps, start with “The purpose of this email is to…”
  • Provide a 2-3 sentence background. Explain the dynamics that led to the communication.
  • Use bullets (no more than six) to summarize key points. There is no need to cram key information into one paragraph. Let it breathe. If there are charts or other related material, this is also the place for a hyperlink or attachment.
  • Limit sentences to 20 words or fewer. Word efficiency forces writers to jettison the content nobody needs or reads. While this tip can be challenging, readers will appreciate the increased clarity and readability.
  • Leave a memorable and/or actionable final thought. This is the takeaway message, highlighting what the writer wants people to think, say and/or do.

By focusing on words that matter, any person or organization can be more concise and, therefore, more effective.