The clarity of your writing reflects your credibility and reputation in the eyes of your readers. How can you craft your messages to be as effective as possible?
You’ll make a difference by applying these five techniques today.
- Make your opening sentence compelling.
It starts with knowing your reader—a boss, a coworker, a buyer of your nonfiction book. A rambling introduction will lose them; stick to addressing their needs and interests.
- Think through your message thoroughly before writing the first word.
Start by completing an outline that details answers to these questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How. This will help you think through all aspects of your message and make it easier and faster to write. You’ve already done the hard work!
- Use “you” in your messages to make them more personal.
Successful salespeople use “you” more than “I” and so should you. Scan your message for variations of the word “I” before sending or publishing it. Rework every “I,” “my,” “our,” “me” to emphasize “you,” “your,” and “you’re.”
Instead of: “When I create my schedule, I set up time with myself.” Write: “When you create your schedule, you set up time with yourself.”
- Don’t make your reader work hard to understand your message.
That means eliminating run-on sentences, overwritten paragraphs, and passive sentence construction. How can you test this? Remove certain words and see it your sentence still works. Experiment. You’ll likely find fewer words gets the job done better!
Instead of: “If you have co-workers who are well-organized, their productivity levels can go through the roof when they work remotely.” Write: “Well-organized co-workers are more productive working remotely.” (See how you’ve turned a 19-word sentence into an 8-word sentence without changing the meaning?)
- Write correctly so readers don’t trip up on your intended meaning.
How often do you see or hear words used incorrectly? A lot! Your reputation suffers if you don’t get them right.
For example: “Everyday” means common or normal while “every day” means today, tomorrow, next day, etc. Or “stationary” (something that stands still) versus “stationery” (something you write on). I call these Word Trippers because they keep tripping us up! (Want a quick reference to help you be correct every time? Go to www.wordtrippers.com or www.barbaramcnichol.com/word-trippers)
Find ways to write better; your credibility is at stake.