When everybody competes to get attention through emails, social media posts and other messages, it’s time to take action! These are 4 ½ ways given by Neil Taylor, Managing Partner at The Writer, to help you capture your readers’ attention and get your message across. Neil’s recommendations will make your writing concise, simple and understandable.
1) Start with the reader in mind
- Do not think of what you want to say (otherwise it will quickly become too complex)
- Focus on what is useful for your readers (start the first paragraph with this)
- Remove things that your readers don’t understand (because too technical, too detailed…)
Decide which point you need to concentrate on, the most important point goes first in your message:
- What do I want my reader to know?
- What do I want my reader to feel?
- What do I want my reader to do after reading my message?
Applying this simple rule will transform how you write.
2) Speak human / write human
English language is a mixture of Germanic and Latin languages. There are often two words for the same idea: e.g. liberty / freedom
- Words of Germanic influence are more straight forward and simpler – people use these in 90% of cases
- Avoid Latin influence words, there are more difficult to understand and make things harder to read
- Advice is to use more “every day” language
Applying this rule will not change the meaning of what you write, but it will make you more readable and it will help getting your message across.
It will also show that you understand what you are talking about (readers will have a higher opinion of you).
3) Time to tell a story
- Create an emotional reaction
- Build a story to drag your reader along
Applying this rule will help keep your reader’s attention to the end and lead them into action.
4) Whole point is to do something different
- We are all competing for readers’ attention
- Don’t use writing that can’t tell you apart from the competition
- When someone does something different then readers start to notice
Applying this rule will make your writing attract readers’ attention.
4.5) Read your writing out loud to experience of it feels
About The Writer: our mission is to rescue clients from the tyranny of corporate speak. The Writer fights against the boring, the lazy and the ineffective in language. The Writer helps companies use words that change how people see them, change how their people feel, and that make and save them money.
The Writer offers a useful online tool to check how readable your writing is: try it here