Create memorable acronyms
I know: Acronyms can make your copy harder to read. After all, it’s hard for readers to follow your train of thought when they’re drowning in alphabet soup.
But acronyms can also make your copy easier to read and remember, writes Jack Napoli, if you use them to group your key ideas “into nuggets of distinction.”
MARC, for instance, is easier to remember than Mid-America Regional Council. It’s also easier to remember than an acronym that doesn’t spell out a pronounceable word — Midwestern Regional Council, or MRC, for instance.
“Can the audience recall your message 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 martinis later?” Napoli asks. To help your audience members, he suggests keeping your memorable acronyms:
- Short: three to six characters long
- Meaningful: Make sure the acronym compliments the subject matter.
- Repeatable: easy to say and remember
Napoli sells the idea of using memorable acronyms to create sticky messages in his excellent post, but he doesn’t offer any how-to’s. Here’s one approach for turning a list into a mnemonic device to help readers remember your key points:
- List the words you want to include. You might need to find potential substitutes.
- Type the first letter of each word into the online anagram server box.
- Click “get anagrams.”
The result: a meaningful acronym that helps readers codify and remember your big ideas.