Whether they’re right or not, people form impressions of your personal brand based on the way you write. It is time you take the necessary steps to improve your image and understand the importance of effective writing.
Readers assume that if your…
- Writing is sloppy: You don’t care about quality.
- Writing is unclear: You can’t communicate ideas effectively.
- Writing rambles on: You have no sense of purpose.
- Writing is formatted poorly: You have no sense of design.
- Writing is not tailored to your audience: You don’t care about others’ needs.
- Writing is too informal: You are immature.
- Writing is unorganized: You can’t convey information effectively.
Luckily, writing clearly and effectively is easier than you think. The following 9 steps will significantly enhance your ability to communicate and improve your image.
1. Decide for whom you’re writing.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: What do they want to find out about you? Make sure you give them what they want. Where do they expect to find what they’re looking for? Make sure it’s where they expect it to be.
2. Get to the point.
Writing is most effective when it’s simple. Your reader doesn’t want to follow you down a garden path. Almost anything can be clarified by putting it into fewer words.
3. Keep it skimmable.
Accept the fact that your reader is going to skim-read your content. Not because they don’t like you, but because that’s how people read text online. They should be able to grasp everything you have to say by reading only the first sentence of every paragraph. Always state your main point before you give reasoning that leads to it.
4. Use short sentences.
Simple writing is the single best way to communicate more effectively. If you were taught that longer sentences convey greater intelligence, you were taught wrong. The less extraneous words you use, the better you communicate.
The amount of time required to process a sentence with n words is n^3. If you cut the length of a sentence in half, it will be 8 times easier to read.
5. Don’t sound stuffy.
Only use a Thesaurus for words that express an idea more accurately or more succinctly. If you use one to make yourself appear smarter, you’ll end up sounding even less intelligent. Don’t try to sound sophisticated or formal either, or you’ll come off as stuffy.
6. Avoid immature lingo.
Avoid swear words or street slang and your writing will be formal enough.
7. Play the Devil’s advocate.
Is there anything that can be misunderstood? If so, change it so that it can’t be.
8. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Fix grammar, spelling and punctuation. Then have two other people go through it for mistakes.
9. Keep formatting simple.
Make sure anything that catches your reader’s eye draws them to your main points. Use bulleted lists to convey information quickly. Use bold headings to help the reader decide which section will tell them what they need to know.
Go through your website pages now and see how much you incorporate these nine points. How many are you using? By working them in to your writing process, you will enhance your ability to effectively communicate and exude a personal brand that stands for quality and clarity. It is important that you are working constantly to improve your image.