The long and the short of it
Build drama, create rhythm by varying sentence length
Short sentences are best.
But make every sentence simple and short, and your copy will read like “See Dick run” primers.
1. Make a point more powerfully.
“People read long sentences quickly,” says Jacqui Banaszynski, associate managing editor at The Seattle Times. “They read short sentences more slowly. Short sentences are power points in your copy.”
Take these powerful passages from a Pulitzer Prize-winning series in the New York Daily News about the plight of Sept. 11 rescue workers. Notice how the lead’s staccato sentences hit you in the chest like machine gun fire:
Learn to make every piece you write easier to read and understand in this concise-writing workshop
Read it and weep: More than half of all Americans have basic or below basic reading skills, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.
That means they can sign forms, compare ticket prices for two events and look up shows in a TV guide. But they have trouble finding places on a map, calculating the cost of office supplies from a catalog and comparing viewpoints in two editorials.
How well are we reaching these folks with our messages?
At Cut Through the Clutter — our two-day concise-writing master class on Aug. 17-18 in San Francisco — you’ll learn how to make every piece you write easier to read and understand. You’ll walk away with secrets you can use to reach more readers, measurably improve readability and sell tight writing to management.
Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Write for Readability: Reach readers, improve communication — even boost the bottom line — by making your messages more readable.
- Cut Through the Clutter: Measure, monitor and manage readability with a cool (free!) tool.
- Take the ‘Numb’ Out of Numbers: Make statistics understandable and interesting.
- Start Making Sense: Get the gobbledygook, jargon and gibberish out of your copy.
- Get a clutter-cutting workout with Wylie: Boost readability by up to 300% when you practice your new skills on your own work.
Save $100 when you register by May 17.
Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more
Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?
Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in: