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Concise Writing: 5 Easy Tips

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Human attention span is short.

So your writing needs to be concise to say more with less.

Otherwise, you risk losing your readers:

  • Enthusiasm (to engage with the content)
  • Interest (due to not meeting their expectations)
  • Patience (because you failed to get to the point fast).

 And here are 5 easy tips to be concise in writing.

1. Do Effective Research

When you research effectively you are ‘summarising’ effectively.

And this teaches you the value of being ‘concise’ because any good research summary should be:

  • Relevant (to what your target audience wants and needs)
  • Authoritative (from leading sources)
  • Focused (on what matters).

So don’t skip research because it’s the first critical step to be concise in writing.

Resource: How to write a summary | 5 steps & real examples by Scribbr.

2. Use Power Words

You most likely have heard a picture is worth a thousand words and the same goes for power words.

They say more with less (what being concise is about).

Because power words simply turn dull words into persuasive words, which promotes content:

  • Engagement (because your audience sits up and takes notice)
  • Emotions (as all humans like to feel something)
  • Memorability (meaning action is more likely to be taken).

Resource: Keep a comprehensive list of power words (here’s 801+ that pack a punch & convert like crazy) within your swipe file (a must for any writer).

3. Use More Full Stops

To be concise avoid long sentences and minimise the use of commas.

For example:

“I love copywriting, I have 15 years’ experience, I’m a master of words.”

Can easily be rewritten to:

“I’m a master of words with 15 years’ experience and love copywriting.”

So instead of adding a comma (because there is breath in a sentence) work on restructuring your sentences to be shorter by adding full stops.

Resource: How to write short sentences (write clearly and simply) is useful.

4. Read Your Writing Aloud

When you read your writing aloud you ascertain how clearly and concisely you convey a message.

Because by forcing your mind to slow down by reading aloud, you discover:

  • How it sounds to other people
  • Issues (like incomplete points and poor word choice for example)
  • Your writing quality.

Any ‘filler words’ that are preventing conciseness can easily be eliminated when you read your writing aloud.

Resource: David Sedaris’s tips for improving your writing by reading aloud.

5. Proofread with an Eraser

So ditch typing and instead pull out a:

  • Notepad
  • Pencil
  • Eraser.

Then write all your copy in ‘pencil’ on your notepad and when you’re done erase as many words as possible that don’t take meaning away from the content.

And when you’ve mastered conciseness with notepad, pencil and eraser revert to typing in your publishing document (of choice) to become unstoppable.

Resource: Keep this list close by anytime you do this task: 298 filler words & phrases that rob your writing of its power.

Conclusion

When you’re concise in writing it’s easier to ‘grab’ and ‘hold’ attention because your copy:

  • Gets to the main point quickly
  • Establishes momentum
  • Gives clear reader takeaways.

So use these 5 tips to be concise in writing and remember as American writer, editor, literary critic and teacher William Zinsser once said: “Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.”

Over to You…

Do you agree with Concise Writing: 5 Easy Tips? Or is there something missing, or you would like to add?? Would love to hear from you in the comments – any feedback is greatly appreciated.

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