Ideas, no matter how complex, are best expressed simply

Few health service managers resemble the stiff and stilted, buttoned-up bureaucrats of popular mythology. Yet reading a random sample of the articles sent unsolicited to HSJ for publication might suggest the stereotype is alive and well and running an NHS organisation near you. The problem, as Tim Albert vividly describes (see feature, page 29), is their prose style.

Managers are far from alone among healthcare professionals in being afflicted with verbosity and pomposity when putting ideas on paper, but they are among the worst offenders. The most straightforward propositions are typically obscured in a flurry of clauses, compounds and impersonal passive tenses. But in fact with a little thought - and self-restraint - even the most complex notions can be expressed simply.

Sadly, few managers realise that ideas expressed in this way gain immeasurably in impact.

Readers will suspect turgid and oblique writers of emptiness, vanity or downright deviousness;

direct writing will command attention, appear honest and persuasive. Perhaps most important, it will enable you to convey what no amount of jargon ever will, what managers alone among health professionals are often wrongly accused of lacking: passion for the service.

Go on, forget your inhibitions. Try it. l