Are you busy? Overworked? Over-stressed? Surrounded by a pile of material you need to read and review and act on?
Well, so are your readers. And at the risk of bursting your bubble, they’re also not particularly interested in reading your memo, brochure, ad, article, white paper — whatever you’re writing.
The solution? Make it easy for for your reader (or audience, if you’re presenting).
Make your most important point(s) right at the start.
Say it loud and clear, right at the beginning — preferably in the first sentence or two. As the saying goes, keep “first things first”.
If you were writing a news story, your main point is your headline and “lead” paragraph. That’s why the opening of most news stories contain the most important information: the who, what, when, where, why and how. (See Writing the Inverted Pyramid.)
Because your first paragraph or two may be the only part they read. So don’t save the important stuff for page three. Make your most important point(s), loud and clear, right at the top.
(Note: yes, I realize I broke my own rule in this post. I didn’t get to my “lead” till the third paragraph. Shame on me.)
But some rules are made to be broken. It’s also essential to attract the reader’s attention, arouse their interest, and let them know your topic is relevant.
So sometimes it’s better to hit them at the beginning with a fascinating fact, provocative question, or anything else that might “hook” them. Just make sure it supports your main point. Then follow up quickly with your VIP. (Just keep it near the top.)
There — two writing tips for the price of one.