In writing, it’s always the little things that make a difference. Effective communication doesn’t involve altering your whole writing style. There is a plethora of little touches you can add to your writing to make sure that your message gets through.
Before you read on, we recommend that you practice. Communication in writing is always difficult to achieve, and it only comes with experience.
Changing Your Sentence Structure
The first step to communication is to change the way you write your sentences. One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is they believe communication is about writing down everything about a topic.
That’s tiring, and people are going to gradually drift away as they continue to read. You can counter this by just changing your sentence structure.
Make them shorter. The same goes for your paragraphs; it is easier to consume this way. A 500-word blog post with shorter paragraphs feels shorter to the reader than if those same 500 words were combined into one or two long paragraphs.
Practising shorter sentences will also teach you to how to be clearer and more concise with your words.
It is not just long sentences and paragraphs that hurt novice writers. It’s also the temptation to ramble on about things that don’t add to your message.
Now that you have the structure of your words ready, it’s time to look at the overall message you’re sending. The way you write means nothing if what you are writing has little to no value.
Every piece of writing, regardless of the format or context, should start with the point you are trying to make. This isn’t a novel where the reader must turn the page to find out more. The modern online reader will simply click away.
By stating the point of your writing in the beginning, you’re leaving the reader with a choice. Interested readers will continue while uninterested readers will click away.
This is a good thing.
There is little point in leading readers on just so that they get to the end. You don’t win anything for doing so and you’re leaving those readers short-changed.
But how do you keep readers interested?
Keeping Readers Interested
Once interested readers make it through the beginning, you need to keep them interested. This is the hardest part of effective communication.
You can do a lot simply by adding subtitles, numbered lists, and bullet points. But your writing must tell something of a story whilst maintaining the completeness of your points.
To do this, you have to give your readers a reason to keep going. Ask questions. Use examples. And make them believe the next pertinent point is just around the corner. The introduction should only tell you ‘what’. It should not tell you the ‘how’ or the ‘why’.
That’s the distinction you need to make if you’re going to become an effective communicator.
But it is always a difficult balance to strike. We recommend trying out different types of writing and putting pen to paper regularly. Effective communication only comes with practice.
What do you think is the most essential part of effective written communication?