Cut Through the Clutter manual
Make every piece you write easier to read and understand
“Thank you for the information-packed Cut Through the Clutter. The nuggets you offer are pure gold!”
— Jill C. Garman Neiger, communications specialist, American Red Cross, Northern Ohio
Learn what others say about Cut Through the Clutter
Is your copy easy to read?
According to mass communication guru Wilbur Schramm, that’s one of the two key questions people ask to determine whether to read your copy — or whether to toss it.
Fortunately, academics have tested and quantified many aspects of readable copy. (Stories with an average sentence length of 29 words, for instance, are likely to be understood by less than half of your audience members, according to a study by the American Press Institute.)
Hacks never bother to dig up this information. Real pros study the stats, use them to create quality standards and craft their copy so it measures up. Have you done this heavy mental lifting? Or are you just cranking out your copy without understanding how it affects your readers?
This manual includes the numbers on readable paragraphs, sentences and words. Use them to make your copy clearer — and to show your approvers why you can’t run their 47-word sentences.
With this manual, you’ll learn:
- A seven-step system for condensing your copy that will save you time and make sure nothing falls through the cracks
- How to measure the length of your piece. (Hint: It’s not in words, inches or pages)
- How Procter & Gamble, The Body Shop, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other organizations make their copy tighter
- Three ways to reduce the length of your piece — and which is the most effective. (You’re likely using the worst approach now)
- How to edit your copy before you write
- Nine ways to condense your piece
- How to keep readers from skipping your paragraphs
- The right length — in words — for the lead paragraph
- How using the word-count function can make your copy more accessible
- Three ways to shorten your paragraphs
- How to keep readers from getting lost in your sentences
- Eight ways to make your sentences shorter
- A trick for making even the longest sentence easier to read and understand
- How to identify the passive voice — and eliminate these slow, bulky, bureaucratic sentences from your copy
- The one-minute sentence sharpener: How to search and destroy noun phrases
- Mark Twain’s priceless advice about dealing with adjectives
- A test for determining which modifiers to use and which to cut
- The length of a word that readers find easy to read
- How to get the “fog” out of your copy
- Plus 14 resources for cutting through the clutter
- And more ways to avoid “information pollution”
Note: If you have Ann’s 14-page Cut Through the Clutter handbook, you have only a fraction of the techniques you’ll find in this manual.
Reduce your learning curve
Ann’s learning tools are brisk and loaded with tips. In fewer than 77 minutes, you can be putting these techniques to work.
Plus, get Ann’s Cut Through the Clutter cheat sheet of formulas and checklists — all the action steps of the manual on one sheet of paper. Keep this checklist by your computer to use on every piece you write and edit. Our clients tell us that this job aide is one of the most valuable tools they receive for applying new skills to their daily writing.
Learning tool details
79 pages. PDF. Get your order today — and pay no shipping — when you download this digital learning tool. U.S. $49
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