Saturday, October 3, 2009

Getting Your Writing Right

When you write for business, write for your audience.

Many people in Australia are immigrants. They use English as another language. Their levels of understanding range from poor to very proficient. Many are learning English or using it at a simple level.

We need to write for them to understand our key messages.

This can be done by using:

  1. short, succinct sentences
  2. short paragraphs
  3. simple words eg,write about instead of approximately
  4. headings
  5. advance organisers such as charts
  6. links to dictionaries for difficult words (examples in this text)
  7. images and graphics that help explain concepts
  8. use bullet points or numbering to create lists

Even the choice of our typeface can improve understanding. For example, if the words are too close together, readers may have difficulty knowing where one word ends and another begins. I've experienced this problem with native Arabic speakers.

A useful tool I have in my writer's tool box is Intellisoft's XMailWrite text editor. Why do I use it? Because it analyzes my text giving me readability statistics, a word count and much more.

Originally intended for writing email messages, it is perfect for general writing for blogs, Internet pages, letters or anything else where you need a high readability level. It's absolutely perfect for instructional media or user-guide writing.

You can save your text as a TXT file or convert it to HTML depending on your use. You can do what I'm doing today; cutting and pasting into a blog post.

Intellisoft produced this software and gives it away free. If you haven't heard of Intellisoft, you need to visit their site and read up on their Site Management Software XSitePro. I've been using three of Intellisoft's products for years. They are the best available.

Why not download your free copy of XMailWrite today and see if you can improve your writing tomorrow?

Here is an example of the statistics from this piece of writing:

Word Count: 296
Sentence Count: 24
Line Count: 34
Paragraph Count: 11
Syllable Count: 483
Average Paragraph Length: 26.91
Average Sentence Length: 12.33
Average Syllable Count: 1.63

This article is suitable for children around 13, but would need simplification for low level English readers.



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