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Write in Active Voice

When you write in business, you will be more effective when you use plain language. This means using short words, short sentences…and active voice. Use the active voice when you want to be direct, brief, and natural. People use the active voice almost entirely when speaking because it is natural and easy to understand. However, […]

Writing Lists in Parallel Structure

Why Parallel Structure Matters You’re unlikely to be praised for writing lists using parallel structure. Yet fail to do so, and people will take note. It’s easy to recognize lists that are not parallel because they don’t make sense or sound right. As a result, your writing will come across as sloppy and confusing. Conversely, […]

Never Assume Knowledge When Writing Procedures

The Problem When writing procedures, a surefire way to create confusion is to assume that your readers can complete multi-step activities without explicit instructions. When you make this assumption, you risk creating confusion, frustration, and inaction. You’ll also burden other employees, subject matter experts, and/or help desk workers with unnecessary questions. This defeats the purpose […]

White Space – Make Something from Nothing

It Works Like Magic When writing procedures, an ample use of white space can transform a cluttered confusing mess into a beautiful set of instructions. By increasing the readability (reading ease) of your procedures, you reduce confusion which helps your readers be more productive. The simple step of adding nothing (empty space) can magically create […]

The ROI of Writing Effective Procedures

A Small Investment Now Well written procedures (instructions) are worth their weight in gold, so to speak. Think about it. A single set of instructions can be used over and over by dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees (or customers) over a period of many years, with no additional effort or expense. By quickly […]