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Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

Let’s be honest. You are here to for a crash course on writing. And you want a short yet comprehensive guide.

Before I start, I want to clarify a good writer pays attention to every level — word, sentence, paragraph, idea — of an article. And you NEED to take care of all levels as well.

    Now we’ll start with the easiest level – word first. Then we’ll go on with each level and at the end recommend a big list of really useful sites and books for your long term improvement.Let’s start with words.

    Use simpler words.

    There are many words for you choose from. Shorter, simpler, smarter.

    Example: Replace “however” with “but”, “utilize” with “use”.

    Use synonyms.

    Lost for words? Use tools like Thesaurus or Grammarly to find synonyms.

    Avoid passive voice.

    Passive voice and passive-sounding verbs sound boring and indirect. It’s always stronger to use active voice.

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    Example: (AV) “Your boss asked you to work overtime.” vs. (PV) “You are asked to work overtime by your boss.”

    Use “you” and “I”.

    Often we overuse the pronouns “we” and “us” to be relatable. While they show your empathy, “you” directs the message straight to your readers.

    Also, sprinkling in some “I”s makes you more genuine with your readers.

    Delete the “-ing”.

    In most times, the “-ing” adds no value to your sentence.

    Example: “The ‘-ing’ adds no value.” vs. “Adding the ‘-ing’ has no value.”

    For your long term benefit, you should keep a list of new words and amazing expressions for future use.

    To make it more handy you can download the vocabulary.com app so that you can jot down the words so easily.

    String your words into sentences.

    Golden rule: Delete the word “that”.

    An excessive amount of “that”s is annoying to read. We tend to think THAT the more connective words we use, the easier it is to read.

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    Read it without “that”, it sounds stronger.

    Less is more.

    (See what I did there?)

    The best copywriting follows this rule: use 2 or 3 words in a sentence. Nike’s “Just Do It”, McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It”, Avis’ “We Try Harder” are all essence of their own brand and images.

    Also, avoid hedges, disclaimers, and tag questions to keep your sentences shorter. They make you sound less persuasive and convincing.

    Example: “An afternoon nap boosts your productivity.” vs. “I think an afternoon nap could possibly boost your productivity, don’t you think so?”

    Label your readers with nouns.

    “I dream a lot”
    “I’m a dreamer”

    In fact, these two sentences convey the same message. The latter generates a longer-lasting attitude on your reader’s minds, because the noun is central to your reader’s identity rather than a simple action.

    BOLD OR CAPITALIZE TO EMPHASIZE.

    Obviously.

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    Check your sentences.

    Hemingway provides suggestions on word replacements, sentence structures, and readability assessments to strengthen your writing. Check what you’ve written before proceeding.

      In the long run, imitate the styles of great writers is a great way to strengthen your writing. Mix in your writing and Voila! You have a masterpiece.

      Paragraphs are equally important.

      Again, less is more.

      Keep your paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences long, or even a single sentence long.

      A single sentence paragraph draws in a lot of attention.

      Also, use coherence markers.

      Copywriters seldom use coherence markers, because these words and phrases don’t add much value. But research[1] has discovered the use of coherence markers (like but, so, therefore) increase clarity and persuasion, so you should keep them in your writing.

      To develop better writing long term, you should rewrite great paragraphs with your own words.

      Coming up with an idea is already hard enough.

      All storytellers follow a simple formula — present a problem, proceed with an experience, then solve the problem.

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      There are also other storytelling and copywriting skills, click here for more.

      A free writing session a day.

      The best way to finesse your craft is to practice every single day.

      Give yourself a timed session to write ideas or passages under a theme. You might be stuck at first, but soon practice makes perfect.

      Organization is key.

      Overwriting is common problem. And you need to be willing to cut unnecessary details from your article. People cling onto what they’ve written because they don’t want to abandon their creations. But the real lesson is to learn to delete extra information.

      Biased writing is also a huge “no”. Even when you are writing with a stance, often include several drawbacks (a.k.a. a two-sided argument) makes you more convincing and rational, so your readers are more willing and comfortable to join your side.

      Don’t forget your headline and subheadings.

      Famous marketer David Oglivy once said[2],

      On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.

      It is SOOOOOO important to attract your readers with your headline. If your headline is not good enough, it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is.

      But don’t ever write clickbait headlines. An eye-catching headline without a well written content isn’t attracting either.

      At last, write comfortably.

      I have given you many tips and tricks to improve your writing skills. Don’t be stressed to follow certain rules, or a particular writing style. Keep these pointers in mind, and fuse your own personality and spunk to create beautiful pieces.

      And if you have the passion to further improve your writing skills, do read the following books and visit the sites below that are truly helpful.

      Highly recommended books for you to write better

      Great websites for your specific writing needs

      Reference

      More by this author

      Frank Yung

      Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

      Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

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      Last Updated on February 11, 2021

      Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

      Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

      How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

      Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

      The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

      Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

      Perceptual Barrier

      The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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      The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

      The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

      Attitudinal Barrier

      Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

      The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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      The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

      Language Barrier

      This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

      The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

      The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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      Emotional Barrier

      Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

      The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

      The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

      Cultural Barrier

      Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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      The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

      The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

      Gender Barrier

      Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

      The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

      The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

      And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

      Reference

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