Sleepy Readers

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A recent article on the HBR’s blog was very interesting. Bad writing not only confuses and fails to achieve its goals, it’s downright boring!

Dull presentations, insipid reports and blah websites make zero impact on the readers, wasting writers’ and business’ time and money. Bryan Garner‘s article offers several great strategies that keep you from putting others to sleep and I’d like to add a few more:

Vary Verbs: Often, you’ll need to repeat the same nouns again and again (for instance, when discussing a project title). You can, however, use a variety of verbs to add interest to your writing.

Highlight what’s Not Obvious: You want to make everything crystal clear to your readers, but not so simple that it seems obvious. This makes readers think that they already know everything and, then, tune out quickly. Showcase the interesting and complicated issues instead of boiling them down too much.

Highlight what’s Unclear: Don’t shy away from challenging topics. Take them on. Discuss pressing questions, concerns and opportunities for changes.

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