First Things First in Technical Writing

             

reading newspaperCompanies and organizations wanting to ensure effective communication can take a page from manufacturing principles to streamline their content.  When words are your resources, focusing them to relay important information minimizes reader distraction, increases retention, and reduces the number of follow-up questions — and the time needed to answer them.

Put your message in its place
The first method of emphasizing need-to-know information is to put it front and center. If you’re sending content by email or letter, create a subject line that tells readers exactly what they’ll find in the correspondence. In more traditional documents, put the most important information in the first paragraph or, better still, the first sentence. Doing so helps your audience find vital details quickly and keeps its attention on your message.

Keep it simple
The adage “too many cooks spoil the broth” applies to writing, too. Cramming multiple messages into one document doesn’t save time or space; it simply muddies your message. Don’t leave readers wondering what your main point is. Make it impossible to ignore.

Spell it out in straightforward, simple sentences, and include only one message per letter or document. Use shorter words, too — why use a three-syllable word when a one-syllable word will do?

Hurley Write can help you streamline technical writing to make it more effective. Leave us a comment, and we'll get back to you right away.
 
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