I am assuming that most people reading this post write frequently, and write well. However, it is worth going back to basics from time to time to consider not just what we write, but how we write it. Whether you are writing for presentations, hand-outs, blog posts or any information sharing documents, it’s a waste of time if they are difficult to read and follow!
For your content to be useful, you want readers to be able to understand and retain the knowledge you are passing on, without having to work too hard.
Thoughts on effective writing:
Presentations, blogs, online pieces and web copy will need to engage readers quickly, or you will lose their interest. Readers often scan headings to check if they are of interest or not, so are particularly important!
Course notes, reports and hand-outs are different because readers have longer to digest the information. The reader still shouldn’t have to work hard though, or reread frequently to follow your content.
Points to consider for readability:
- Don’t write whole words in capitals – they have little shape to them and are more difficult to read
- Leave plenty of white spaces – content is much easier to read and the white space highlights what you want the reader to read
- Use images – not too many and only if they help to make your point
- Avoid overlong or complicated sentences – particularly for presentations and the web
- Use headings, bullets and easy to read fonts
- Vary the size and style of fonts – limited use of bold, underlining or italics can highlight key information
Using these points you can make sure that your great content reaches your audience!
You can check readability on Microsoft Office. For instructions visit click here:
Use this web readability checker to check the readability of a web page.
Read this interesting article from The Daily Telegraph. Michael Gove, Education Secretary, gives some useful advice on avoiding using jargon and unnecessary content.