We saw in last week’s post that if you find one emotionally compelling idea it will be much easier to write clearly and concisely. This week we look at Step #2: Use an easy-to-read style.
Step #2: Use an easy-to-read style
When you use an easy-to-read style, your reader can focus on your message rather than muddling through dense text. These three tricks can help you develop that easy-to-read style.
Trick #1: Use personal pronouns
Using personal pronouns gives your writing a conversational tone. Personal pronouns seem to connect the reader to the writer. And that conversational tone helps your reader focus on your message rather than your language.
Just be sure that personal pronouns are right for the content. It may not be appropriate in every situation.
Trick #2: Avoid jargon
It’s easy to be drawn to words that are common in your industry. But are they common to your audience? When writing for non-specialists and you have a choice between words, use the common, everyday word.
A couple further pointers on word choice:
- Use positive words. Negatives like don’t in front of a verb can make some readers stumble.
- Avoid long strings of nouns. Sentences with several nouns in a row can be difficult to navigate.
- Use inclusive language. Unless your document is about men, don’t use only male pronouns (he, his).
Sometimes you may have to use a technical term, even when you’re writing for non-specialists. In that case, choose words that will help your readers.
Trick #3: Avoid padding with words like very, really, actually, or carefully
These words don’t serve any purpose. Keep in simple, keep it easy to understand.
By adopting an easy-to-read style, you can start a conversation by engaging your audience. Use personal pronouns, where appropriate. Avoid jargon by choosing the right word. Avoid padding your text with words that serve no purpose.
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