The Write Way

First Things First

Businessman reading a newspaper and taking notesCompanies and organizations that want to ensure that their communication is effective can take a page from manufacturing principles to streamline content. (See Lean, Mean Writing Machine in this issue for a more detailed discussion.) 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?

Yes, you can learn to do this! Contact Hurley Write toll-free at 877-24-WRITE (877-249-7483) or by email for more information about our training courses.

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