Your Reader’s Rights

Every reader has the right to be approached in words that the reader can understand. If you were talking face-to-face, what words would you use? Those are the words that should appear in your written text, not strings of acronyms, the business jargon of the moment or long lists of what you can do.

Every reader has the right to know who did what. Writing in the passive voice (“the project was completed on time”) makes for boring reading and can lead to confusion. Who exactly completed the project: your company, the vendor, the client or maybe your competitor? Take credit: “the ABC team completed the project on time.”

Every reader has the right to know what came first. That is, information is organized in some easily figured out way: chronological, alphabetical, large to small, top to bottom. If you switch organizations mid-way, you will lose your reader.

Every reader has the right to be told first what he or she wants to know most. If your reader has asked specific questions, make sure you answer those questions before plunging into other information. If your standard proposal describes products your reader isn’t interested in, consider moving those descriptions to an appendix or deleting them entirely. If part of your product or service is invisible to the reader and doesn’t affect the reader in any way, don’t waste valuable time and space describing it and the history of its development; the reader doesn’t care.

If your written materials online or in print are violating these four reader’s rights, contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications to put you and your customers back in accord.