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[TIP] Keep your reader in mind when writing

Never forget who you are writing for. And “everyone” will not cut it. Develop personas, make hard choices.

 

If you are a member of the Harvard Business Review magazine, you might have subscribed to their daily management tip.

 

An email, in your inbox, every morning, with a short 2-minute read based on an HBR article (classic or recent).

 

They have definitely honed in on the right tone, the right approach (executives don’t have much time in the morning for long reads, but they will read a short abstract and potentially forward the mail to their team).

 

Recently, they sent a tip on business writing, how it is important to keep the reader in mind when you are writing (whether it is an article, a white paper, or a simple email).

 

It will often mean simplifying some of your sentences and paragraphs, but this doesn’t mean dumbing it down. I love how Lauren Brodsky puts it in her article:

 

“Always write for a ‘smart novice audience’—an audience that is smart, generally, but doesn’t know what you are referring to, specifically. Avoid acronyms and define all terms; you don’t want readers to feel stupid if they don’t know one, or make someone leave the report or email to look something up. They may not come back.”

 

In her article “4 Quick Tips to Improve Your Business Writing,” she outlines 4 simple things you can keep top of mind when doing your business writing, when creating content, when briefing creatives, etc.