On Writing Well…

Ok, we know that title is already taken by a famous book written by William Zinsser.  But if you’re trying to promote your business or nonprofit and want to put your best foot forward, or if you’re an aspiring communications pro, you must write well.  Period.

Virtually everything you do in communications requires writing (or speaking) skills. So, before you start writing that press release, letter to the editor, or memo, here are some tips:

  • Get your best ideas on the page first before worrying about constructing perfect sentences.
  • Organize your thoughts into a coherent and logical flow. Select three main points you want to make. Build your paragraphs around these points, filling in supporting details and information.
  • Begin with a strong opening sentence or statement – or even a question – to attract the reader’s attention.
  • Use transitions to signal the movement from one topic to the next.
  • End by reinforcing your most important points and leaving the audience with something to remember.

A few final thoughts: Use the active voice and action verbs as much as possible. Try to draw a picture in your audience’s mind. Create suspense or intrigue, if you can.  Last (not to sound like your high school English teacher), use good grammar and punctuation… and spell-check!

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