Improve your clarity with these 7 writing tips

Readers have a number of ways they evaluate a company’s communications. According to recent research, there is one thing that they want overwhelmingly more than any other. Clarity.

Put another way, they just want to understand what we’re saying.

That would seem to be glaringly obvious. But the fact that this gets such a high ranking tells us that maybe there’s room for us to improve how we communicate.

With that in mind, here are 7 tips to help improve the clarity of our writing.

1. Reduce the story to a tag line.

What are we trying to say? Reduce it down to five to seven words. This little exercise defines our theme and can help keep our writing from wandering aimlessly.

2. Keep it to one thought per sentence.

It’s a simple rule, but a powerful one. It keeps our sentences from getting complex and our readers from getting confused.

3. Keep it to one thought per paragraph.

Same thinking as point number 2. It applies to your paragraphs as well.

4. Write descriptive subheads.

Our readers should know what the paragraph will cover by reading the subhead. Remember, readers may scan our subheads before they decide to read our entire piece/page. So, let’s make sure they don’t have to guess at what we’re trying to communicate.

5. Skip the jargon.

We don’t want to give our readers a reason to pause to decipher an acronym or an industry term. If we cause them to stop reading, they may not restart.

6. Use short sentences. Use short paragraphs.

This helps us keep our sentences and paragraphs to a singular idea. It also helps keep our writing crisp and concise.

7. Make it look easy to read.

This is the most overlooked tip. As writers we don’t often think about how our writing looks. But if we present a wall of gray text, we make it real easy for our readers to abandon us. Keep the sentences and paragraphs short. Use subheads and bullets and even pull quotes to break up the text. It will keep readers feeling like you’re making an effort to make it a great experience.