Keeping Readers Engaged through Brevity

Imani Frasier • June 17, 2021

Dr. Seuss once said, “The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.” Simply put, superfluous pieces are a one-way ticket to decreased engagement. Readers are looking for a few things – usually based on the who, what, when, where and why. These are the important details – tread lightly with anything extra.

Since grade school, we’ve been conditioned to believe that more is better. From word count to page number requirements, we’ve developed “fluffing” habits. Truth is, fluff is not equal to detail. Furthermore, it is distracting. Where readers should be gaining valuable information, they get caught in a whirlwind of hyperboles and anecdotes. Sure, when used appropriately, literary devices can be entertaining and help to craft a beautiful message, but just like everything else in life, there is a time and place for them. Here are a few tips on how to keep your audience engaged through concise writing.

Don’t get caught up with fancy language

When reading for leisure, readers will appreciate not having to think too hard. You don’t have to write on a third-grade level to be relatable, but keep it simple where you can. Avoiding jargon-heavy writing is best, too.

Edit, edit and edit again

The revision process helps you eliminate unnecessary information and consolidate your thoughts. Constant reiteration falls on deaf ears, so stating your point succinctly is the way to go.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes

Consider your audience demographics. Are they on the go? Even if they’re not, would you want to read a dissertation to get basic information?

Don’t use the conclusion as a summary

Eliminate redundancy by making the big point with your conclusion. No need to reiterate the same points you made previously.

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