Steve Jobs once said: “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Throughout your PR and writing career, you have heard more than once to tighten up your pitches, your white papers or your press releases. While it takes practice, the result is worth the effort.
Below are five tips to keep your writing clear and concise.
Avoid passive language.
Is the object of your sentence in the position where the subject should be? If so, it’s probably passive. For example, “The dog was walked by me” should read: “I walked the dog”.
Don’t rely on adverbs as descriptors.
Instead, use a descriptive adjective. Not only can adverbs dilute a sentence’s meaning, but they add unnecessary word count. Instead of writing, “He ate his dinner quickly,” say: “He devoured his dinner”.
Use words that resonate with your audience.
While it might be tempting to infuse your writing with large words or esoteric terminology, in most cases, this approach is not appropriate for your audience. Unless you are writing a technical piece or white paper, aim for a straightforward style.
Prepositions are used to connect nouns and pronouns to each other. Examples include: “of, for, to, by, at, from, on or into”. Instead of saying “The captain of the boat,” you can tighten the sentence by two words by saying: “the boat’s captain”.
Avoid redundant language.
Proofread your piece for words that can be eliminated because they don’t add meaning. For example, you can eliminate “exact” from the phrase, “exact same,” and “time” from the phrase, “present time”. Pay a visit to this site for 200 common redundancies.
Do you have tips or questions about writing more clearly and concisely? If so, we’re all ears. Share your comments and feedback below.