Easy steps for effective writing

October 1, 2013

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Want to be a more effective writer? Here are five tips to get you there.

1. Keep it plain English
Write it like you’d speak it. It’s not about dumbing down – it’s about helping people understand what you’re saying on a first reading.

2. Keep it short
Say the most with the fewest words possible. Why use 50 words when 10 will do? A great line from the classic Elements of Style: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, for the same reason a machine should have no unnecessary parts.”

3. Keep it active
Active writing involves the reader. For example, “your email was received by us yesterday” is passive and distant. Whereas, “we received your email yesterday” is active and immediate.

4. Keep the pace
If one sentence has, say, 15 words in it, write a shorter one after it. Like this one. It helps keep the pace and draws your reader through.

5. Keep it relevant
Always put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What’s in it for them? Make sure you give them a reason to keep reading.

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