Many business people, even marketing people, write poorly. I have a few simple guidelines that will help. I used to think I’d write a book on this subject, but the truth is that there’s not a book’s worth that needs to be said. It boils down to just a few rules. So I’ve decided to do a series of posts.
Rule #1. Make your most important point first. In journalism, they call this the inverted pyramid. The main point of your document/email/letter should be made in the first paragraph. The main point of each paragraph should be made in the first sentence of that paragraph. Too many writers make the mistake of building up to the main point which ends up buried in the next-to-last sentence of the next-to-last paragraph where no one will see it. Readers, especially business readers, scan quickly to grasp the highlights and it’s much easier for them if the highlights can be gleaned easily. Make your main point first, then make the supporting arguments afterwards. Great writers know when to break this rule. The rest of us should try to stick to it. We’ll break it accidentally often enough.