A Sure Way to Confuse Your Readers
In school and throughout our lives, we’ve learned to write using the academic model, i.e., introduction, body, and conclusion. In business writing, this approach greatly limits our ability to get things done.
We can think of the academic model as a movie, where the plot gradually builds before reaching the exciting final conclusion. Communicating background information first works well in the entertainment industry (and in academia). In the fast-paced world of business, it creates confusion, frustration, and inaction.
The Academic Model
The Readers’ Perspective
Busy employees don’t have time to wade through background information to uncover your important action item. They have many other pressing priorities, which means they immediately want to know how your email affects them, and whether they have to do anything. The more difficult it is to answer these vital questions, the greater the risk of inaction.
Writing to Get Things Done (WGTD)
How to Give Your Readers What They Want
When you make it easy for your readers to find the most important part of your message, you do them, and yourself, a favor. Effective business writing is written from the readers’ perspective. To quickly answer their questions, “How does this affect me? Do I have to do anything?” put what you want to get done in paragraph one. They’ll love you for it—and you’ll love the results.