Keep it short, sport
Welcome to your first writing tips ezine of the year, designed to help you become a more confident, effective writer.
If time is money, NOT writing concisely costs business a bomb – things take longer to read, impact is lost, and the REAL message is often hidden. Say NO to waffle!
Here are five keys to keeping it short:
- Use the “So what?” test. If a point you make isn’t completely relevant to readers, chop it.
- Use plain English. “Never use a long word when an exiguous one will do.” Don’t try to impress readers; just be clear.
- Use the “active voice,” which puts the “doer” before “what's done.” It's shorter and more direct. “The road was crossed by the chicken,” is passive. “The chicken crossed the road,” is active.
- Edit ruthlessly. The French scholar Blaise Pascal wrote to a friend 300 years ago, saying, “Sorry I wrote such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Good writing is rewriting.
- Never just write and send. Let your writing “sit” for a while (at least a few hours, if not days). You’ll then see shorter, sharper ways of saying things.
Put these into practice and your readers will love you for it!