I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Keeping your writing concise and to-the-point is the way forward – the key to becoming a stronger writer. You and your audience want the same thing; you want to write less, and they want to read less. We simply don’t have the time to sift through irrelevant text. Many of us will scan a few sentences then runaway never to be seen again! Concise and interesting writing can help prevent this.
Emails need to focus on the message rather than constantly beating-about-the-bush. Posts on social media seem to have more impact when they’re shorter. Good novels carefully contain no extra words and white papers break things up well into smaller digestible bite-sized chunks, built around sections and subsections.
Have you ever tried to condense your career into a two-page CV? It seems an impossible task, but the result will immediately give you the upper-hand. Even better is to fit everything onto one page. Believe it or not, I once read even the president of the United States can do a one-page CV!
Ultimately, the purpose of writing is to convey a crystal clear message with as much impact as possible.
Here are 3 ideas to think about.
Stick to your point
Before you write your first word, establish the main message. The clear message you want your readers to absorb. Try to do it with 4 or 5 words. It will often end up as your headline. Remember, as a writer, your focus is your crucial weapon. It gives you the mental strength to think in one direction stopping irrelevant thoughts ending up on the page. Stay laser-focused and stick to your main point throughout.
Stop wasting words
Words are precious on your page, so is your reader’s time. Naturally, the more words you end up wasting, the more time your reader loses. It’s worth remembering that every word you take out is as important as what you put in. Deleting unwanted words makes your copy more compact and lets you speak to your readers clearly. Go back over your writing, and edit out needless ideas, sentences, phrases and words. Then do it again until you’re absolutely sure every word counts.
Write snappy punchy sentences
Although long informative sentences may seem a good idea to share your message this may backfire on your writing. These add heaviness to your copy and your reader will tend to ignore them. Get into the habit of writing short, snappy sentences. They’re simpler to write, easier to understand, more memorable for your readers and help you focus your thoughts more clearly. Sometimes writing long sentences is fine – as long as you keep to the point. Good copy often consists of both long and short sentences, so mixing things up should create the perfect combination.
So, it’s now over to you.
If you’ve got some tips of your own or found this post helpful – please leave a message!
About the author: Peter Hopwood
Peter Hopwood is a copywriter, workplace communications trainer and founder of Libris communications based in Eastern Europe. He focuses on helping professionals to make a stronger impact with their personal communication via customer service training, copywriting, public speaking and presentation skills.