Okay, I’m finally admitting it. I’m a stripper by trade. I make no apologies and I’m not about to give it up.
But wait…before you run screaming from the room, let me explain. I take a big, overdressed concept and start to strip it back bit by bit. I play with it, readjust it and take a bit more off.
Finally, I strip out the adverbs, fling off the adjectives – and now I’ve got something my audience will pay attention to.
If you want to be read, you’re going to have to do a bit of stripping yourself. Most people won’t bother wading through convoluted prose to get your point, so here are some ways to make your writing sizzle:
Short is sweet: Use short sentences with one thought to a sentence. Cut long, rambling sentences into two or three short, punchy sentences.
Looking good: Keep paragraphs short to avoid big slabs of text on the page, especially if your work will appear in columns.
Stay active: Lose the passive voice. Look for ‘by’ in your sentences and rework them, and have people doing things, rather than things being done by people.
Liven it up: Turn nouns into verbs, e.g. ‘provision of’ (noun) can become ‘will provide’ (verb), and ‘give consideration to’ becomes ‘consider’.
Keep it simple: Use fewer words to get your message across, e.g. ‘close proximity’ becomes ‘near’, ‘are in agreement’ becomes ‘agree’, ‘despite the fact that’ becomes ‘although’.
What the…? Avoid tautology or stating the obvious – new innovation, future potential, mutual cooperation. And clichés – cutting edge, world beating, revolutionary.
At school, we all knew how to impress the teachers…use big words and expand one or two ideas into 800 words. In the business world, we lose marks for being complicated and long winded.
The key is to Keep It Simple for Success.
Now, where’s that feather boa…?