Create acronyms that help readers retain info
I know; 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.”
‘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 something out — MRC, for instance, for Midwestern Regional Council.
Acronyms also help readers remember lists. Richard Saul Wurman, for instance, uses the acronym LATCH to outline five ways to organize copy:
I recently made a mnemonic for the six types of concrete detail that grab attention and communicate your key ideas. The resulting acronym — FEASTS for the senses:
- Fun facts, juicy details
- Examples, for instances
- Startling statistics
How to create an acronym
Here’s how I did it … and how you can do it, too:
- 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.”
Test your acronym.
To make sure your mnemonic makes your message easier to understand, Napoli suggests keeping your acronyms:
- Short: three to six characters long
- Meaningful: Make sure the acronym complements the subject matter.
- Repeatable: easy to say and remember
Napoli asks: “Can the audience recall your message in 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 martinis later?”
What acronyms can you create to help readers remember your key points?