Today’s post is the final one in the “Six Things Readers Need” series. At some point, the series will be modified and turned into teaching materials. I think the series has importance to communication initiatives, and teaching materials could be helpful when giving talks about the subject of readership. Understanding one’s readers and remembering what it is to be a reader are tantamount to writing and communicating successfully.
The final considerations in what a reader needs are two-fold. The considerations are clarity and conciseness. Readers need those two things. They need to be able to read a person’s writing without stumbling over awkward syntax or arriving at the conclusion and still not knowing what the central point was. Without those two things, a reader may wonder if the writer didn’t take the time to proofread the work before publishing it. The reader might feel disrespected or wonder if he or she is being sold a shell game.
Clear and concise writing, then, is a way for a writer to demonstrate respect for his or her readers. It is a way to showcase knowledge. It is a way to turn worn writing into something new, something fresh. It is, in a way, like having clean windows. While the furniture and other items may not change within the house, they somehow are altered when the windows are clean. Clean windows allow the sun to shine into a room without any impediment. They make the living room and kitchen foreign and altogether new.
The same things happen with clear and concise writing. The words may be the same words, but they have been cleaned. The sun is allowed to shine, and the words sparkle. They take on a richer significance than they did when they were besmirched by dirty windows, such as convoluted or unclear writing. The “clean” words begin to attract a reader’s attention. That reader notices the new look and appreciates it. He or she returns to those words and subsequent ones because he or she can’t resist the look and feel of clear, concise writing.