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Real Words that Work - Enhance your writing with a roadmap

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications

Enhance your writing with a roadmap

Does this scenario sound familiar? You sent a long email to your director explaining how the new process you devised will save all your staff at least 30 minutes a day. In fact, you included so many brilliant points you are already accepting the praise (and the raise). So where is the congratulatory email back and the invitation to lunch? Why no reply at all?

It’s not just the words but how they look. A long piece of writing without breaks, headings and bullet points will turn readers off. They will face a grey page, decide it is too hard to plough through and move it into their “To Do” file.

And we all know what happens to documents in that file.

Give your readers a break, and a roadmap

First, organize the copy into sections and give each section a title such as Issue, Background, Solution, Benefits. Boldface those section titles.

Vary the presentation of information in each section: make some paragraph-style (keeping each paragraph to about 5-7 lines) and others bullet-style (a full sentence per bullet).

You are giving your readers a map to follow with points of interest highlighted along the way. With clear direction, they will happily join you on the journey.

Patricia Davies is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider with IIBA, and a regular panelist on the IIBA Communications Webinar (first Tuesday of every month). Have you got a writing question? Please email to and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.