Simple Writing

Simple Writing

John Harman  - Simple WritingSimple writing. As a professional communicator, deeply committed to the notion that language is meant to convey thoughts, ideas and intentions with precision and absolute clarity, I was a bit bothered to see this piece of writing from a major corporation:

“If there are any issues concerning which you require a more detailed explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone.”

Why couldn’t they have just said…?

“If there is anything you don’t understand, please telephone”

The trouble is we have become used to that kind of formal, overblown and dense writing. Many people will see nothing wrong with it.

But think about it. The first sentence comprises 31 words; the second only 9.

And yet, the second sentence is so much more easily understood.

The first sentence took more than three times longer to write – and more than three times longer to read. Multiply that by the millions of words people and organisations write every day.

If time is money, then many people are wasting plenty of both by communicating in long, wordy, confusing messages.

I think our ability to clearly and succinctly write and say what we mean is something we should consider seriously.