Writing Secrets You Must Know

Writing better is critical for students. But it's even more important for business communicators.

Let's face it?if you write succinctly, you can (a) win promotions, (b) lead people with your creative ideas, and (c) create instructions for your employees to follow.

Therefore, here are five secrets about business communications you must know:

1. You must write simply ? We all want simple instructions that are easy to understand. Choose words that everybody knows, and offer analogies that are clear and precise.

2. Use action verbs ? Passive verbs like is, are, was, and were simply exist. Active verbs jump, run, explain, and covey information.

3. Learn from the best ? Read Mark Twain's brilliant short stories. Study Ben Franklin's short quotes and aphorisms. Lean about headlines and copywriting from researcher John Caples.

4. Compressed messages ? In the fast-paced 21st century, readers demand information in short, easy-to-absorb form.

It's been said that the average adult attention span today is a mere eight seconds. Can you deliver the theme of your message in that short time?

5. A word about headlines ? Researchers say most of us look at headlines four times more often than we read anything else. Therefore, that headline ? or the heading on your paper ? should capture the reader's interest immediately.

Bottom line: Learning to write clearly might be the most important skill you'll ever acquire.

Rix Quinn's book "Words That Stick" offers simple ideas for both students and business writers. It's available from your local bookstore, or from http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN /1580085768/qid/

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