Write for the human. Content, language and style are not everything. Those who write shouldn’t lose sight of one crucial aspect, the reader. That can mean considering a specific audience, but it goes way beyond. To write for the reader is to write for the human brain, for human qualities and quirks. That’s how it’s done.
Some say that writing is an obligation to fulfil. More and more texts are available today. They vie for the attention of the reader. If you write, you can no longer assume that your work finds its way to the reader. Anyone who wants to write and be read should consider what he can do to ensure that his text is a wealth of information.
Write For The Human
Content and usefulness are essential. A pleasing language makes it easier. Correct spelling and grammar announce competence. Even a little advertising can’t hurt. But there is one more instance, the reader. If you write for our brains, characteristics and quirk, the stars align for your texts.
Our short-term memory is for a timeframe of only two to three seconds. Everything that goes beyond this duration, we get problems. That means keeping together what belongs together, verbs, sentences, information.
Careful with the so-called prohibition! It allows to tear apart the components and tenses of a verb as far as possible. But we can’t handle more than one slide of about 12 syllables, anyway.
Be cautious with your sentences. Make sure you understand each subset well and beware of too long sentences. And compact information. First write something to A, then to B, and so on.
We can not read minds, certainly not in writing, and we need a logical line of thought. Having understood A, we can digest B.
For you, this means serving your readers a linear successive set of arguments.
Of course, you can also work with breaks, jumps, hints and surprises. But all that means an increased workload for the brain. It can cause misunderstandings or cause the reader to understand nothing. Often it’s helpful to write in sequence and keep the thread going.
Write For The Human
Always ask yourself if your reader will be able to follow you to the point mentioned. Only then will we continue to the next point. Even visual design tools can help.
We also tend to store information in different departments, areas. If you move from duck breeding to quantum physics out of the blue? Well, your readers will not only have to digest the abrupt change of subject.
They also need to change the language, to find relevant technical terms. As well as stow away new information. Again, this means an increased workload for the brain.
I suggest instead, provide your readers with a framework, announce what’s next. Give an overview. Summarize the topic. And only then follow up with concrete details.
We interpret the stimuli of the outer world through our senses. And most people tend to think visually and perceive visuals stronger than any incentives. We believe in pictures and get a picture of something. You can use this human attribute for writing. Address the senses of your readers. Deliver material for human imagination. Create mental images. It works with concrete, pictorial language.
Trees don’t particularly deliver a picture. Christmas tree, on the other hand, fire bundles of associations and images. Decorated Christmas trees in their living room. Nativity scenes under the tree. Snow-crowned fir trees in the town square. The smell of pastries. Church bells in the ear. Your reader is now wide awake and enthusiastic about it. Use it for your texts.
As I said, we tend to get mental pictures of something. We also save many everyday, familiar words as pictures. We recognise them at a glance without having to deal with them more closely. It’s much easier to read because we jump from image to image, so to speak.
Write For The Human
Everyday terms such as tree or house are thus better than strange artefacts. For instance material procurement measure. Write whenever you can, not only pictorially, but also familiar and straightforward. Where that should not work, help simple, pictorial explanations and descriptions.
We humans only have a limited attention span. What doesn’t grab us more or less quickly is lost. Hence, avoid anything that is lengthy in your texts. Get to the point and delete everything superfluous. Don’t waste the time of your readers. Strong, curious introductions can also help catch the ever-diminishing attention of your readers.
Of course, we are also emotional beings. Grab the readers by their emotions, entertain them, serve the pleasure and fun factor. It works with content, but also with a beautiful, enjoyable language. Illustrative, exciting additions are also excellent. It can be pictures, examples, stories, questions, quotes, jokes and more.
In the past, texts were often read aloud. Even those who read alone mumbled the text softly to themselves. And even if we mostly read silently today, we have kept the need to formulate the words in thought. Very few texts are only skimmed over by the eye and scanned; their contents usually don’t stick. So write for the human ear. Every text should sound good, and it must read good. Read your own text aloud.
All humans are different. This is a truism, which is often ignored and can have a significant impact on your texts. What prior knowledge can you expect from your readers? Which technical terms should you explain? What style and which level can and do you want to maintain?
Write For The Human
Will examples make sense at all? Can your readers know and assign them from their own everyday life? I also mentioned above that you should try to write as easy and familiar as possible. But even that differs depending on the readership and target audience. It would be helpful if you don’t under or overwhelm your readers.
We humans also perceive different from one another. The more you align with your readers, the better they will understand. No matter how hard you try to express yourself, everyone reads and sees something else in a text. This is due to our individual perception and interpretation filters. There will never be a 100% fit between you and your readers. You could spend some time thinking of that.
Will your readers understand you? Will they have a sense of humour or irony? Will, they accept speech as hyping or exaggeration and find it useful? Sure, often texts and those readers who will love them find one another.
If you know that you are writing for sober tax consultants, your irony may be superfluous or even out of place, leading to misunderstandings.
One last but critical point, people have different needs. What needs and expectations do those people have that you want to imagine or gain as a reader? For example, will you teach your readers something, get informed, or want to have fun? Are you allowed to get into detail or do you have to write in a nutshell?
Again, texts and readers often come together by themselves. But if you use your texts to pursue particular goals, for instance, to target selected readers, the question of the benefit can be of vital importance.
Apart from all that, of course, tastes are different and will remain so. Don’t force yourself to be how others would want you to be. Artificial, trimmed for success with certain readers, texts rarely go well. You will be read for what you have to give and what you are. As long as you don’t make it difficult for others, and write for the human. Good luck with your writings.
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