Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Writing Lessons From a Boring Dinner

The company I work for belongs to an industry association and we have dinner meetings every month. There's usually some sort of safety report and news from our legislative committee and then a featured speaker who talks about something regarding our industry. Tonight's speaker helped me formulate the topic for this issue of writing lessons. Don't bore your audience. The way we writers most often do that is to describe things to a level of detail that no one cares about. I found myself editing this speaker's presentation the whole way through. He was an engineer; that should have been our first warning right there. He went into minutia that was really not important for all us operations type guys that just want to move dirt. Second part of tonight's lesson: Don't clutter your slideshow. He put way to much stuff in his Power Point presentation and no one could read the slides or get any usuful information out of them. Instead of giving us lots of info, we zoned out and lost what he was trying to convey in all the clutter. Don't do that to your readers.

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