Essential tips on writing for clarity.

This is an email I received from one of my Professors in my MBA program. I now share this with you. Single space between sentences. Back in the old days you double spaced on typewriters, but printers now adjust for periods so only one space is needed.

Edit down, edit down.

Typical problem is verbosity. When you edit, read a couple times just thinking about sentence structure itself–not the substantive content.

Say it with fewer, simpler words when possible. Delete needless verbiage. Hemingway is an example of a great writer–short simple sentences with simple language.

Paragraphs tend to be too long. People are put off by that. Paragraphs should begin with a simple sentence that lets the reader know what the paragraph is about.

Delete needless adjectives. The word “very” should almost never be used.

Is the content organized properly? If you say you are going to cover something, does it get covered?

When you read yourself for substance, then just think about the content, ignoring the English. Is it organized logically and get the key points across?

As I noted, you should use the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) as a guide for level of explanation and how to make a topic a bit more interesting to a reader.

Editing for clarity and content is noticed by the reader. Lots of smart people never go anywhere because they cannot tell others clearly what they know, so it is a skill worth developing.



I hope you found as much value in these words as I did.