Put Your Reader First
For all writers the most important people are their readers.
If you keep your readers in mind when you write, it will help
you use the right tone, appropriate language and include the
right amount of detail.
What do readers want from writing? They want relevant information,
presented in a clear, easy-to-understand style. They don't
want muddled thinking, background information they already
know, business-speak and jargon or waffle. Above all, they
want to get the gist of your message in one reading—they
don’t want to dig for the meaning through long sentences
and a boring style. So if you always keep your readers in
mind, you will have to adapt your style and content to meet
Getting a clear picture of your readers before you start
to write helps to focus your writing to get your message across.
The better picture you have of your readers, the better you
can direct your writing.
Ask questions to get a clear picture of your readers.
- Who are my readers?
- What do they already know about the subject?
- What do they need to know?
- Will they understand technical terms?
- What information do they want?
- What do I want them to do?
- What interests or motivates them?
- What prejudices do they have?
- What worries or reassures them?
- What will persuade them to my view?
- What other arguments do I need to present?
- How are they likely to react to what I say?
If you imagine yourself in your reader's position, you're
more likely to write a good letter.