Complicated Writing: What Is It/How to Avoid It

Suppose you enter a store to check out a product you’re interested in, and two salespeople approach you.

One says, “The state-of-the-art functionality of this superior, innovative product is enhanced by the unique proactive multi-tasking bidirectional aspect of the user interface element, our company’s proprietary MTBDUI.”

The other says, “Would you like me to show you the on switch?”

Which salesperson would you buy from?

Yet many websites, blogs and brochures mimic the first sales person when, face-to-face, no one would approach a customer that way. Multi-syllable words (3 syllables or more) in long sentences (over 24 words) are at the heart of complicated writing. Add to that the latest jargon and acronyms with a tendency to drop prepositions and even the most educated readers struggle to understand a company’s message.

Customers are interested in your company, but first they want to know how you will solve their immediate problem. Complicated writing embraces adjectives like “state-of-the-art” and “precisely engineered” without ever giving specifics. It goes on and on about the company’s unique products and features, its outstanding customer services and innovative founders, without ever answering the universal customer question, “What’s in it for me?”

Complicated writing is mired in jargon and acronyms. How could anyone participate in “a proactive customer engagement communication activation process (CECAP)”? But it is definitely possible for customers to understand that you “appreciate their comments”–if that’s what you mean–in direct, everyday language.

Complicated writing leaves a company with nothing to boast about except its vocabulary and its ability to generate jargon and acronyms at a moment’s notice. Clear writing, on the other hand, builds relationships with customers.

For clear writing that is accurate, concise and passionate–for writing that makes even the most complicated content approachable–please contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications.

Freelance Writing: Why I Write

From the moment I could hold a pen, I started writing–before I could spell a word, I scribbled. At first, the lure was tactile: the smooth flow of ink on paper, the thought that someday my ideas might be enshrined forever and ever on that clean white sheet.

As time went on, another factor entered into my love of writing: communication. Here was a way I could say what I wanted to say, in the exact words and with the exact feelings that were so hard to find at a moment’s notice. Writing gave me the time and freedom to say what needed to be said. Unfortunately, it those days, my writing hero was Charles Dickens, and it took me a while to learn that clear communication required–well, clear writing: short, exact words; short sentences; crisp pacing.

Finally, I discovered that the ability to communicate clearly in writing held value for other business owners in other industries. They valued good writing for its ability to connect them with their customers; but they were inventors, builders, thinkers, managers and sellers, not writers. They needed my skill.

After 20+ years working for technical companies and technical publications, I moved to New Hampshire and became a freelance writer, branching out to help not only my old employers but companies in the retail, construction, service, financial, energy, medical and green industries.

As a freelance writer, I help businesses reach their customers and help customers find the solutions they need. My writing grows businesses, connects individuals and solves problems. What more could I want?