Whether or not you consider yourself to be a “professional” writer, there are times when you need to put some type of communication into words.
Whether it’s an email to a client, a report for your colleagues, a newsletter to your customers, or an article for your website. But it’s not always easy to get your message across and communicate in a clear and concise way.
The good news is there are ways to get better. If you want to amp up your writing skills and wow your reader, here are five tips that will help you do it. (Bonus: These tips will help you get better even if you’re already pretty good.)
Stop making your readers work so hard to understand your message. Write shorter sentences. Use shorter paragraphs. And use simpler words.
Understand the goal of your written piece. Do you need to inform, to educate, to entertain, or to sell? Write the words that achieve the goal in the most straightforward and direct way possible.
#2 Get specific
It’s not about writing more words. It’s about using more precise words. Add in details when they enhance or clarify the message. This is important for creative prose.
“The flowers were beautiful.” vs. “The red tulips were radiant in the sunlight.” Which paints a more vivid picture? This is also relevant for sending an email.
“Can I call you in the morning?” vs. “Are you available for a call at 10:15 AM EST Thursday?” Specificity wins.
#3 Let it breathe
When you write something that’s important, do the first draft, then let it be. Never edit it right away. Read it again a few hours later or even the next day, if possible.
Give yourself some distance from the writing so that you have a fresh perspective when you come back to it. This will allow you to see mistakes that you would otherwise overlook.
#4 Proofread it by ear
Of course, you want to proofread your piece. But don’t just read it. It’s substantially more effective if you listen to it spoken aloud.
And it’s even better if someone else is doing the speaking. The secret is using an online text to speech converter. You copy and paste the text, and it’s translated into a natural voice.
It couldn’t be easier. And you get a much better perspective on how it actually sounds to your reader.
#5 Cut the fluff
Edit. Edit. Edit. Cut out the fluff. If a sentence doesn’t serve the end goal or contribute to the message you want to convey, then kiss it goodbye.
No one has time for ambiguous paragraphs and unclear sentences. Sidenote: The editing process is much easier to do when you pay attention to the #3 tip.
Writing isn’t rocket science. But it is a skill that you can improve. Make use of these five simple tips and you can take your writing from awful to awe-inspiring in no time flat.