WRITING FOR BUSY READERS - Communicate more effectively in the real world
We were all taught the fundamentals of writing well in school. But how do we write effectively in today’s hyper-interactive world?
When The Elements of Style and On Writing Well were published in 1959 and 1976, the internet hadn’t been invented. Since then, there has been a radical transformation in how we communicate. The average adult receives over 100 emails and tens of text messages each day. With all this correspondence, gaining a busy reader’s attention is now a competition.
Todd Rogers and Jessica Lasky-Fink, both behavioural scientists, offer practical writing advice you can use today. They begin by outlining cognitive facts about how busy people read, then detail six research-backed principles for effective writing:
- Use fewer words
- Lower the reading level
- Use formatting judiciously
- Make the purpose clear for skimmers
- Emphasise value for readers
- Make responding as easy as possible.