Write tight sentences, like the Times
How long should your sentences be?
According to the American Press institute:
- When the average sentence length in a piece was fewer than eight words long, readers understood 100% of the story.
- Even at 14 words, they could comprehend more than 90% of the information.
- But move up to 43-word sentences, and comprehension dropped below 10%.
Benchmark your writing against the Times’.
How does The New York Times stack up?
Measure, monitor and manage readability with a cool (free!) tool
Would your message be twice as good if it were half as long?
The research says yes: The shorter your piece, the more likely readers are to read your message, understand it and make good decisions based on it.
But most communicators (and, let’s be fair, their reviewers) ignore the research and keep piling on the paragraphs. The result? “You’re not more informed,” writes Tom Rosenstiel, former media critic for the Los Angeles Times. “You’re just numbed.”
So how long is too long? What’s the right length for your piece? Your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words?
At Cut Through the Clutter — our two-day tight-writing master class on April 6-7 in Washington, D.C. — you’ll run your message through a cool (free!) tool to measure, monitor and manage readability.
Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics — and leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.
- Increase reading, understanding and sharing with five techniques for cutting your copy significantly.
- Stop discombobulating readers with long sentences. Leave this workshop with 11 metrics for reducing sentence length and increasing comprehension.
- Avoid causing your reader to skip your paragraphs. Find out how long is too long — and leave with three ways to shorten paragraphs.
- Eliminate multisyllabic pileups from your copy. They’re the No. 1 predictor of poor readability.
This is the only writing workshop we have planned in Washington, D.C. in 2017. Don’t miss out on your chance to Cut Through the Clutter in D.C.! Register now.
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: