Five Ways to Strengthen Your Writing

I recently taught a business writing course for one of my clients. Here are five key learnings that will strengthen any writing:

  • Hook your reader immediately. A boring introduction will result in your reader skimming the rest of your copy, rather than fully considering your content.
  • Use "real" verbs. Just as "real" food is preferred to processed fare, action verbs benefit you. Use the strongest and most specific verb possible to paint a picture in your reader's head.
  • Cut the clutter. Your house is better without it, and so is your writing. Jettison adverbs and adjectives; if you're using strong action verbs you don't need them.
  • Vary the length and pattern of your sentences. Make some short and others longer (but beware of run-ons!). Start some with a subject and some with a verb.
  • Don't use the same word more than once in a sentence. Or even better, avoid using the same word more than once in a paragraph. We're talking nouns and verbs here. Use a thesarus, and choose the word best nuanced to your meaning. But don't go overboard; it's best to repeat a word rather than use an obscure synonym that doesn't fit the style of your writing and which will only distract the reader.