Five tips for improving your writing: 1

Good business writing is clear, direct and simple. It says what needs to be said in as straightforward a way as possible.


1)     No one has time to decipher your message; you need to make it immediately accessible for your reader

2)     Clear writing is a symptom of clear thinking. You’ll find that simplifying your writing will help you to clarify your thinking.

Many people think it’s easy to write simply. In fact it is much more difficult to write simply than it is to produce over-blown, jargon-filled text. Getting it right is not easy, and that’s why I run training courses specifically for PR professionals to help them produce this kind of good business writing. Over the next five days I’ll be posting a tip a day from this section of the courses. I hope you find them useful.

TIP ONE: use short sentences

Short, punchy sentences are easier to read – they also have more impact. Longer sentences, with convoluted phrases and clauses tend to appear like argument; shorter sentences tend to appear like fact. People are more likely to read and believe your copy if you use short, simple sentences.

Consider this example:

“As Manchester United and Arsenal, the two most successful clubs of the past twenty years have proven, success in footballing terms comes from continuity of management, and so Everton, if they want to achieve long term success, should be looking to support their manager, David Moyes, rather than firing him straightaway.”
Now compare it to this version:

“Successful football clubs have continuity in their management. Look at the two most successful clubs of the past twenty years: Manchester United and Arsenal. David Moyes may currently be struggling, but, rather than fire him straightaway, the Everton board should be supporting him. That is the way to ensure long term success.”
Which is easier to follow? Which is more convincing?

So, while you should vary the length of your sentences, you should favour short sentences.

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