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Reading efficiently saves money

Last September I wrote about a report that showed efficient writing can save money for businesses. Obviously, the second part of that is reading…

So as well as writing efficiently and avoiding unnecessary words, you can save money by making it easier for people to read the words.

Making reading easier

You may want to get all your team to do a speed reading course, but I think there are probably better ways to help people read your business materials 🙂

So here are some simple to implement tips for making documents easier to read:

  1. split long paragraphs into shorter ones whenever possible – long chunks of text are harder to read and absorb, plus they look more intimidating
  2. keep decent margins on the page so the text is not overwhelming
  3. be generous with headings and subheadings – not only do they make the text easier to digest, they make the page more visually appealing
  4. use the layout and images to make the page inviting – the same information will be read more if it looks interesting and easy to read
  5. work to avoid paragraphs and lists being divided across pages – it is distracting to turn a page part way through a sentence or idea

Thinking about documents you find easy to read, what features do you find helpful?

If you haven’t thought much about the look of your writing, why not try adjusting the appearance of a page of your existing text and see if you can see a difference – or test different looks on different people. I’d love to hear your results!

7 Responses to Reading efficiently saves money

  • vida_llevares says:

    I am really biased in favor of reading. That’s why the title of this article has already captured my interest and piqued my curiosity. There’s really a wide array of benefits that we can get from reading. Nevertheless, we still have to be smart in reading and read smart. Although reading itself is very beneficial, we could further maximize the value we get from reading by doing it the right way.

    • tashword says:

      I love reading, too, Vida 🙂 And have taught my children to love them too – you’re right that there are so many benefits to get from reading.

      It’s one reason I like to make my writing as easy to read as possible to others can benefit from it in some way.

  • KennyK says:

    There should definitely be enough space so that the page isn’t full of text only. Some white space, some small pictures, interesting titles and subtitles.

    A page should be interesting to look at, not intimidating. Something should get the reader’s attention and make him interested in reading further.

    • tashword says:

      A page full of text only is very intimidating – it’s why magazines are generally more appealing than text books I think (putting aside the depth of content difference!)

  • GaryG says:

    I love this new trend in writing/editing which takes into greater consideration the reader’s need for white space and photos. Formatting for the internet and for eReaders (like the Kindle) is much different than that for term papers or even paper novels and I love the difference. Although it may not be considered “proper form”, it makes reading much easier when blank spaces are introduced every couple of sentences. I, for one, appreciate it when editors do this rather than wait until the end of a paragraph to insert white space.

    • tashword says:

      It always amazes me when I see old newspapers, Gary – there is partially no white space at all and very few images. So much text on one page looks so intimidating! I can read those old papers because they are old and therefore fascinating but anything that text today would probably slide to the bottom of the ‘read it later’ pile for me.

      I think the purpose of writing is to get a message across so anything (white space, good spelling, clear flow, basic grammar and punctuation) that helps that is a good idea and therefore good form 🙂

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