Getting messages across quickly and in simple language is a cardinal rule for business writing. But being too concise with your writing can be a problem. Use too many short sentences and your audience won’t trust you. See what I mean? Use short words too and it gets worse…..
Good writing has lots of rules – spelling, grammar, punctuation, be concise, keep it simple – so many in fact, that they can squeeze out the creativity and poetry you need for a compelling piece of writing. By using rhythm and striking language with clear messages and a strong narrative structure, you’ll keep ‘em reading to the end.
I always start a piece of writing by making a quick list of points I need to get across. Then I keep referring back to these to keep my writing focussed and relevant.
Once you’ve got the list, put it in the right order so everything makes sense and to help the writing flow. Think about what your reader wants to know and what will catch their attention to guide you towards a good structure for your piece.
Now you’ve got a framework for clear and relevant writing, it’s playtime. Having some fun with rhythm and language will help you create an arresting style that gets your audience hooked.
Experimenting with sentence and word length, repetition and alliteration (words that start with the same letter) will help you get the rhythm right. Pay attention to the first sentence. I’m balancing a few shorter words with longer ones as well as using alliteration at the end. Now take a look at the whole paragraph. I’m also changing the length of my sentences to make the writing more natural and flowing. And there’s plenty of action words here – changing, balancing, experimenting – to create a dynamic style.
Well chosen words
The writing rulebook is pretty clear on using jargon and too many long words – it stops readers in their tracks. For the individuals that peservere, an excess of esoteric expressions will cause increasing difficulty with unproblematic comprehension – had to use the thesaurus to put that example together! Using the odd word that’s a little bit different, but not too obscure, will bring a little magic to your writing. Like seasoning for a good dish, it enhances the message without overpowering the reader.
Got more ideas about how to keep your writing clear and interesting? Share them in the comments below.