A blank, white computer screen is often intimidating. And it’s easy to get stuck because you don’t know how to start. Try these tips for composing and styling your document:
- Start with your audience Remember, your readers may know nothing about what you’re telling them. What do they need to know first?
- Create an outline This is especially helpful if you’re writing a longer document such as a report, presentation, or speech. Outlines help you identify which steps to take in which order, and they help you break the task up into manageable pieces of information.
- Use AIDA If you’re writing something that must inspire action in the reader, follow the Attention-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) formula. These four steps can help guide you through the writing process.
- Try some empathy For instance, if you’re writing a sales letter for prospective clients, why should they care about your product or sales pitch? What’s the benefit for them? Remember your audience’s needs at all times.
- Use the Rhetorical Triangle If you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, make sure that you communicate why people should listen to you, pitch your message in a way that engages your audience, and present information rationally and coherently. Our article on the Rhetorical Triangle can help you make your case in the most effective way.
- Identify your main theme If you’re having trouble defining the main theme of your message, pretend that you have 15 seconds to explain your position. What do you say? This is likely to be your main theme.
Use simple language Unless you’re writing a scholarly article, it’s usually best to use simple, direct language. Don’t use long words just to impress people.