Abraham Lincoln is the originator of this saying. Makes perfect sense when you think about his background. Born and raised on the edge of civilization, he chopped down more than his share of trees. This seemingly mind-less chore (chopping down trees) never-the-less taught Abe one of his most valuable life lessons. Preparation. Lincoln never made a decision or took any action unless he was fully prepared; prepared not only to take the action, but to handle the repercussions.
This is the approach we should take when communicating. We should plan out what we intend to say and how we intend to say it. We should anticipate the reader’s or hearers’ response (as best we can) and calculate this into our communication before speaking or sending it. The well planned and executed communication will hit hard and straight, and sink deep into the mind of the receiver. You won’t get far trying to sink a dull ax into a tree—nor will you produce impressive results without sharp communications.