Digital Communication | Stop Trying to Sound Smart in Writing
When we read writings such as proposals, reports or simple emails, we turned off by people who put much efforts trying to sound smart than in trying to be smart... Well, people would like to read communications where they do not notice what’s behind the writing. The best way to write is to be transparent; and this is achieved by the good content and throwing away anything that weakens it.
Before forming any sentence, determine the objective, the purpose and the outcome of your message. Go through the information you’re transmitting and understand clearly what you want your audience to think, to feel and to act after they read your message.
For example, if you’re saying that you’re reaching your objectives and you still need 30% to achieve them, two messages are being delivered; the first one is positive while the second one might sound like the remaining 30% are hard to close. If you want people to think positively, you will need to add facts or commentary (e.g. to achieve all the objectives, we will work more on the tools we’re using, etc.). The key is to include the needed for your audience to interpret the message the way you want.
Once we’re clear with what we want people to think, now we need to consider how we want them to feel. If we want them to act, then we need to include something that can evoke their emotions. Be clear about the feelings you’re aiming to deliver as in written communication, the emotional reactions are much difficult than in verbal communication.
Your message has a purpose, and you’re communicating because you want people to do something differently. Don’t forget to make the ask.
Now, we’ve worked through what we want the audience to know, think, feel, and do and we might think we’re done. We’re not. Take one more pass through your message to see if the knowledge, perceptions, and emotions set up the action you were looking for. If not, add to or modify your message.
Here are a few things to check:
- Eliminate fancy-pants words.
- Beware of using words incorrectly.
- Make bulleted lists flow.
- Use an active voice.