Effective drafting will help you to write clearly and strengthen your position when exchanging written documents. This article provides four tips for effective drafting.
1. An intelligent start
Before you start writing, we recommend ‘an intelligent start’ by asking yourself four questions:
- What is my goal?
- How important is my goal?
- How will my goal be received by the reader?
- Should I write this at all?
This will assist you to organise your thoughts, save time and determine whether or not you need to write something or if it is better to wait, or, pick up the mobile and call someone to discuss.
2. Brainstorm to organise thoughts and language
After brainstorming as many thoughts as possible, sort through your thoughts and edit your ideas, ensuring that you get to your stated goal. It may cause you to revisit your goal. We recommend grouping your thoughts into key themes, which may then form headings for each section of your document. Re-organise your thoughts so that each section will make as much sense as possible to the reader, logically flowing to each key theme.
3. Write a knock-out lead sentence
You need to get to the point. Once you have sorted your sections using headings, take the time to draft a clear lead sentence. Give the reader the answer they are looking for, or make the point you want to make, without requiring the reader to sift through detail.
4. Keep it simple
Try not to over-complicate your message and always use plain English. Avoid words and terms that aren’t used in everyday language and keep sentences short. Less is more. As best as you can, try to avoid emotive language – although it can add passion, it tends to cause your key messages to be lost. Emotive language will likely make it harder for you to achieve your goal through writing.