Thursday, October 22, 2009

Use active verbs and simple words in content

You can make your content more effective by following a few simple rules.

Use active verbs. Get rid of the “to be” ones: is, was, will be.

Don’t tell me what is, show me. With specific details. In the simplest language and no jargon.

Let’s see what we can do with a typical mission statement:

“The mission of such-and-such is to foster adult employment development by teaching cooperation in the career environment, necessary efficiency skills, giving leadership-building experiences while ….”

To pare it down, cut the first few words. Don’t bother saying what you’re going to do. Just do it:

“Such-and-such helps adults become productive citizens by teaching them practical career skills such as working in a team, meeting deadlines, learning how to take charge while …. "

To paraphrase the French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal, “If I’d had more time, I’d have made it shorter.”

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