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The secret to writing well is to imagine you’re communicating with a 10-year-old.

That means no big words, long sentences or industry jargon.

Effective writing successfully transmits ideas from writer to reader. When a reader is left confused, it is generally the fault of the writer.

Most ideas – however complex – can be broken down to bite-sized chunks.

How? Here are five tips for producing effective writing.

1. Use fewer words, not more words

People have short attention spans, so get to the point quickly. Don’t use eight words when six will do.

2. Use short paragraphs, not big blocks of text

Readers get turned off by long paragraphs, because they seem like hard work. So make things easier for them by breaking up the text.

3. Use full-stops, not commas

Bad writers separate thoughts with commas, so that one blends into the next. Good writers separate them with full-stops, so they can be digested one at a time.

4. Use small words, not big words

You might think readers will be impressed if you use big words; it’s more likely they’ll be confused.

5. Use English, not jargon

Also, readers won’t be impressed by acronyms and buzzwords – they’ll be confused.

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