Clarity, Tone, and Writing by Numbers

Here’s a blog post on clear writing from Amy Laburda of Palisades Hudson Financial Group. A few of her key points:

  • Be careful with terms of art, sometimes known as jargon. “Using jargon with other professionals in your area isn’t actually a problem, most of the time,” says Laburda. “The problem arises when you try to communicate to an outside audience and you discover you can’t turn the jargon off.”
  • Be brief, but don’t be rude. “Brevity can be useful,” particularly as a way of increasing clarity, Laburda notes. “But tone matters too.”
  • Absolute rules such as “never use the passive voice” and set numbers for ratio of verbs to nouns or total uses of “and” aren’t really helpful. Experienced writers know that you can’t really “apply a quantitative, formula-driven approach to something as inherently subjective as written communication.”

Above all, be aware of your audience. As Laburda says, “It is important to think about who will eventually read your writing and why.”