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stressed-out B2B prospect rubbing his tired eyes

Quick tip: Get to the point

Did you hesitate before clicking on this tip?

Even though it’s labeled “quick”?

Then you know just how your white paper readers feel.

No one is waiting on the edge of their chair for your white paper to arrive.

B2B prospects are busy! They have:

  • Too much to read
  • Too much to think about
  • Too much to do
  • Interruptions from all directions

And their boss just dropped another big project on their desk.

That’s why every sentence you write for them must get to the point.

book cover The Elements of Style

Omit needless words

Struck & White put this eloquently in Principle of Composition No. 17 in The Elements of Style:

A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for their same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

That’s my favorite passage in that entire little jewel of a book. And I try to follow it in everything I write.

How do you write concisely?

I’ll tell you the secret right now: Write. And then rewrite.

And then do it again. And again.

And every time you rewrite, try to cut and compress.

I routinely do at least five drafts before I send anything to a client.

And each draft, even the fourth or fifth, I try to cut at least 10% of the words.

It’s easy to see your word count. That’s built into Word and GDocs. So watch your word count, and bring it down.

That’s the secret. There is no shortcut. There is no other way.

We all write flabby sentences on our first go

pencil about to draw a point on a piece of paper

Abd the only way to whip those first-draft sentences into shape is to exercise them.

And the way to do that is to concentrate, condense, confine, consolidate, compact, compress, cram, curtail, cut, deflate, delete, digest, downsize, flatten, pack, précis, prune, reduce, reshape, restrict, revise, scrunch, shorten, shrink, slim down, squeeze, squish, sum up, taper, tighten, trim, and tuck.

So do it.

If you want to be a professional writer who can write better than any AI, learn to get to the point.

 


For more quick tips on writing, get my free newsletter White Paper World

About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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