Give Your Readers a Break

A very effective Reader-Centric strategy for your workplace writing is to make it very easy for your readers to read, understand and act on what you write. One way to achieve these results is to use more white space to make your emails and other documents easier to understand and use. This is especially helpful when they’re reading on their phones … and, soon, on their watches.

You can avoid long paragraphs by converting them to Text Breakers using numbers, letters or bullets. Also, consider using bold text or all CAPS for key words where appropriate. Text breakers also enable you to eliminate unnecessary words. Here’s an example:

Typical Paragraph

The details of some of these problems you are having in areas are as follows. Several members of the group have been coming in on time but are not at their work stations until 15 minutes later. Important personal calls that are short and infrequent are acceptable. However, I’ve noticed personal telephone conversations which are too long and too frequent. Several group members have been returning late from meal periods.

Convert to Text Breakers 

The details of some of these problems you are having are as follows.

  • Several members of the group have been coming in on time but are not at their work stations until 15 minutes later.
  • Important personal calls that are short and infrequent are acceptable. However, I’ve noticed personal telephone conversations which are too long and too frequent.
  • Several group members have been returning late from meal periods.

Already, it’s easier to read in a hurry and tell that this note discusses three problems.

 ‘Lean & Clean’ with Text Breakers

Some of you are having problems:

1.  Being Late – arriving on time, but not at work for 15 minutes.

2.  Personal Calls – while short and important calls are fine, yours are too long and too often.

3.  Lunch – coming back late.

This version is even easier to read and understand. Cutting out unnecessary words also improved the clarity and impact of the paragraph. By reducing the length from 70 to 44 words, ‘Lean & Clean’ also works better on phones.

So, add the simple yet very effective strategies of Text Breakers and ‘Lean & Clean’ to your Workplace Writing Tool Kits and give your readers a real break.

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