If you want your reader to get your message and understand what you want them to do, don’t make them work so hard.
Do you have trouble embracing “keeping it simple” because you’re worried you’ll sound or look unprofessional?
There couldn’t be anything further from the truth. The fact is, if you write clearly, people really, truly (I promise!) think you’re actually very smart. Because they understand what you’re saying, they think you know what you’re talking about. They respect you. They think you’re smart. They think you’re credible. They trust you.
If they can’t figure out what you’re talking about because you were vague, pretentious, or used terms they aren’t familiar with, that’s not very professional, is it? And it could damage your credibility.
Yes, yes, we have to unlearn what we learned about writing in high school and university. So what? That was great for high school and university. You’re not there now, though. So you’ve got to re-think what writing is all about.
Serious question: What is holding you back from doing this?
Is it that:
- You don’t know how?
- You don’t want to seem uneducated?
- You think your readers can, or should be able to, handle the kind of writing you do?
- You think using big words and complex sentences lends you a sense of authority?
- You’ll be the only one at work who writes clearly?
- You’ve never thought about it before and your writing got you a smashing PhD and lots of published papers, so it’s fine.
Think about this:
- How do you think ideas get from one head to another? Clear writing!
- How do you think people learn how to do things? Clear writing!
- How do you think people build trust and solid relationships? Clear writing!
- How do you think people avoid ending up calling up their lawyer in a panic about a contract gone off the rails? Clear writing!
- How do you think people get their scientific, technical writing in front of the public so that the ideas can spread far and wide? Clear writing!
Clear writing is the way!