Make your writing better by implementing this one simple tip: delete your first two paragraphs. That’s the part where you likely set the stage in a verbose manner. That preamble probably contains too many details and is also repetitive. Once all that warm up is out of the way, you finally get to the point in the third paragraph. Why not just start there instead?
Sure, you need to provide context and some background information. But you also need to get to the point. And it’s better to flip that around – get to the point first, then fill in the details.
Most writing is done by email these days. The format does not lend itself well to long form writing, and readers don’t have patience. Your message is arriving in a pile of other urgent, important, mundane, fun, and irrelevant messages. The person you’re sending to is probably already annoyed by the Inbox experience when they see you’re message, so why not offer them a little respite? Be clear and concise.
Starting with the main point sets the stage properly. You’ve focused the communication. From there, answer the rest of the key questions as quickly as possible – the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Write like a journalist, in an engaging and informative manner with the most crucial information covered immediately and the rest of the “story” built out from there, including (if necessary) your preamble material as background information to round things out at the end.
And be clear if you want them to do something specific in response. If you’ve got a question, ask it. If you want them to change an opinion, tell them. If you want them to read and just file it away, then say so.
Photo credit: Arzi