After a few years of being (almost) buried in technical writing and editing projects, I’ve decided there is no better time than right now for my dragonfly blog to take flight again. So arm doors and cross-check… we’re off!
I’ve always been a KISSing fan – that’s keeping it simple for success. So I often smile (and occasionally grit my teeth) at the things I read, virtual red pen at the ready.
Things like: “If in the situation where damage may be caused to the machinery during the towing of the machine…”
How much easier just to say: If machinery could be damaged during towing…”?
Unfortunately, most of us learnt to write ‘long’ at school and later during our tertiary education adventures. After all, we had 1,500 word essays to write – so getting to the point wasn’t exactly, well, the point.
But think about people in work situations, particularly on work sites like construction and mining. They have to get the job done, may have finished school in Year 10, and often have English as a second language.
Look back at that first sentence about damage during towing. If you’re like most people, you probably missed the second word (‘in’) so the sentence didn’t make sense until you read it again.
The worst part – it’s only the opening phrase and already your brain is switching off.
And when it comes to people’s roles and safety on a job site, switching off is not what we’re aiming for.
Here’s what we do want:
- clear, simple language
- tailored to your audience
- with information they need and can trust
- in a format that’s easy to follow.
So say what you mean and keep it simple for success. That’s smart.