“The best result is that our V.P. of Sales and Marketing is thinking about readability now, too! (We had a nice little talk after I edited a 26-word sentence down to 15 and told him why!)” ­
— Janice Owen, public relations manager, Mercury Payment Systems
Michelle Esso

What if you could measurably boost readability — and convince the V.P. to write your way?

Until April 17 only: Master proven-in-the-lab techniques for making every piece you write easier to read and understand …

Dear Communicator,

Let’s start with the bad news: More than half of American adults have basic or below basic prose skills, according to the Department of Education’s latest literacy test.

That means they can sign forms, compare ticket prices for two events and look up shows in a TV guide. But most can’t find places on a map, calculate the cost of office supplies from a catalog or compare viewpoints in two editorials.

Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's clear-writing master class on April 17-18 in New York

Can you read me now? Master 130 years of clear-writing best practices at our clutter-cutting Master Class on April 17-18 in New York.

Save $100 when you book by March 17.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

No kidding.

Send out a message that’s written at the 11th grade level, and 97% of U.S. adults won’t be able to understand it, according to the findings.

But wait! There’s more …

… Improved readability not only helps folks at the low end of the literacy scale. It helps our most literate readers, too. Well educated, highly literate experts understood a message 13% better, read it 64% faster and enjoyed it 30% more when it was much easier to read, according to new research by the Nielsen Norman Group.

Do you want to be responsible for the message that’s 13% harder for the V.P. to understand? That the client likes 30% less? That takes the CEO 64% more time to read? Me neither.

In this environment, how do we reach our readers?

Well, the good news is, it has never been easier to measure, monitor and manage readability. More than 130 years of readability research gives us clear writing targets to shoot for. And online tools make it easier than ever to make sure we’re meeting those targets.

Understand those targets and master those tools, and people start paying attention. Just ask Rachel George-Leidenfrost:

“I’ve noticed that both my writing and editing have become cleaner and more concise. I’ve received unsolicited, favorable comments from numerous colleagues regarding pieces on which I’ve used these techniques.”
— Rachel George-Leidenfrost, internal communications associate, M&T Bank
Rachel George

Or ask Marsha Strong what a difference clear writing can make:

“I got a new client by applying one of Ann’s principles. Cut Through the Clutter was a breakthrough for me.”
— Marsha Strong, general manager, 92.7 KKBS Boss Radio

Learn to Cut Through the Clutter …

Once you’ve mastered a system for writing clearly, you’ll be able to:

1. Layoff-proof your job; build your business; and cut to the front of the line for raises, promotions and awards …

After all, someone’s got to be the communicator who knows how to:

  • Convince the boss that your message will be twice as good if it’s half as long
  • Get paragraphs read, not skipped
  • Write sentences that don’t discombobulate readers
  • Make numbers fascinating and fun
  • Calculate how much your reviewers’ rewrites will cost your company, in dollars
  • Leave readers wanting more (Too often, communicators leave them wanting less!)

Might as well be you.

“Makes me want to go back and revise everything I’ve done in the past three years.”
—  Blythe Campbell, director, communications and marketing, NANA Development Corp.

2. Learn proven-in-the-lab best practices for clear writing …

Don’t believe everything you think.

Mrs. Webb, your third-grade teacher, got it wrong about conjunctions, for one thing. She also passed on some pretty terrible advice about paragraph length.

Which really is too bad, because some expert somewhere has done the research and figured out the best way to use conjunctions, paragraph length and all of the other elements of tight writing to draw readers into your piece, help them read faster, understand better, remember more and be more likely to act on your message.

“Ann offered credible and thorough information. Ann’s presentation gives you the confidence to be the expert in your office.”
— Zainnaib Jalloh, marketing and communications specialist, Doctors Community Hospital
Zainnaib Jalloh

For instance, in 1928, Mabel Vogel and Carleton Washburne of Winnetka, Illinois, became the first researchers to statistically correlate writing traits with readability. They published 19 easy things you could do to make your message clearer and easier to read — approaches that today, some 90 years later, still stand the test of time.

Wouldn’t you like to know what they are? Wouldn’t it be helpful to apply these findings to your own messages?

“I would recommend this workshop to anyone who has to write more than 2 sentences a day – ANYONE!”
— Melissa Summer, associate marketing manager, CPP
Melissa Summer

Since Vogel and Washburne, scientists have answered hundreds of questions about clear writing in the lab. Questions like:

  • What’s the average length of a sentence that’s easy to understand?
  • Which punctuation mark has been proven by big data to never get retweeted?
  • What percentage of your audience will stop reading sooner if you add four more paragraphs to the piece?
  • How do questions affect reading? (They increase reading in the headline, but reduce it in the lead. Who knew?)
  • What’s the average length of a paragraph that’s more likely to get read than skipped?
  • Is it better to begin your sentence with a pronoun? An interrogative pronoun? An article? A conjunction? A subordinating conjunction? A preposition? This seemingly simple decision will make a huge difference in comprehension.
  • How many numbers can you include in a paragraph before your reader decides she’d rather put a pencil through her eye than finish reading your message?

Did you learn this stuff in school? Neither did I!

“Some of the best professional development I’ve ever had. Everything Ann teaches is practical, and I can immediately use it to improve my writing.”
— Sarah Julian, director of communications, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center
Sarah Julian

That’s the problem: Those of us on the front lines of writing almost never get our hands on this research.

And it’s a huge problem. Because writing is as much a science as an art. And if you’re don’t have the science … no matter how good you are, there’s no way art alone can make up the difference.

In this workshop, you’ll learn the science of clear writing — 130 years of proven-in-the-lab best practices for making every piece you write easier to read and understand.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to …

Reach Real Readers

Getting a reading-level reality check with results from the latest U.S. literacy study.

“The problem with communication,” said George Bernard Shaw, “is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

Reach real readers in New York

No kidding. Send out a message that’s written at the 11th grade level, for instance, and 97% of U.S. adults won’t be able to understand it, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.

Draw more people into your piece and help them read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer.

In this session, you’ll dive into the results of this massive worldwide literacy study to get a reality check on the level at which your readers really read. (Prepare to be depressed!)

Then you’ll master techniques that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer. You’ll learn how to:

  • Write for real readers. Chances are, you’re vastly overestimating your audience members’ literacy rate, according to a massive international study.
  • Overcome special audience challenges. Older people, health care consumers, mobile users — maybe even your CEO — may need more help than you realize.
  • Sell readability’s bottom-line business value. The U.S. Navy, for instance, saved more than $27 million in officer time by increasing readability.
  • Increase reading by up to 75% by making one change to your message.
  • Measure, monitor and manage readability — your No. 1 tool for reaching more readers.

Cut Through the Clutter

Measure, monitor and manage clarity with a cool (free) tool!

Would your message be twice as good if it were half as long? The research says yes: The shorter your piece, the more likely readers are to read your message, understand it and make good decisions based on it.

Cut Through the Clutter in New York

But most communicators (and, let’s be fair, their reviewers) ignore the research and keep piling on the paragraphs. The result? “You’re not more informed,” writes Tom Rosenstiel, former media critic for the Los Angeles Times. “You’re just numbed.”

Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics and leave with targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.

So how long is too long? What’s the right length for your piece? Your paragraphs? Your sentences? Your words? In this session, you’ll run your message through a cool (free!) tool to measure, monitor and manage readability. You’ll find out how to:

  • Analyze your message for 27 readability metrics — and leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.
  • Increase reading, understanding and sharing with five techniques for cutting your copy significantly.
  • Avoid discombobulating readers. Leave this workshop with 11 metrics for reducing sentence length and increasing comprehension.
  • Stop getting skipped. Find out how long is too long — and leave with three ways to shorten paragraphs.
  • Eliminate multisyllabic pileups from your copy. They’re the No. 1 predictor of poor readability.

Take the Numb Out of Numbers

Make statistics understandable and interesting

If your readers are like most, they have, on average, below basic numeracy, or numerical literacy, according a massive international literacy study. So how well are they understanding your quarterly results?

Take the Numb Out of Numbers in New York

Avoid statistics soup and other bad numbers tricks that make your readers’ eyes glaze over.

“Numbers without context, especially large ones with many zeros trailing behind, are about as intelligible as vowels without consonants,” writes Daniel Okrent, former New York Times ombudsman. Indeed, poorly handled, statistics can make your readers’ eyes glaze over.

In this session, you’ll master the art of making numbers understandable as well as interesting. You’ll learn how to:

  • Avoid statistics soup and data dumps using three simple steps.
  • Help readers understand your numbers by asking one key question every time your fingers reach for the top row of the keyboard.
  • Make numbers more emotional by turning them into people, places and things.
  • Create meaningful — not discombobulating — charts and graphs.
  • Find free tools that create attractive charts for you.

Start making sense

Get the gobbledegook, jargon & gibberish out

Jargon. Buzzwords. Acronyms. They’re things that make your reader go “huh?” And we need to get them out of our message.

Start making sense in New York

Indeed, jargon irritates your reader, makes your message less understandable, reduces your social media reach and influence, cuts your chances of media coverage, makes your website harder to find and demonstrates your lack of knowledge about the topic. It may even suggest that your company is in trouble.

Translate the language of your organization into the language of your readers.

In this session, you’ll learn how to avoid these obstacles by translating the language of your organization into the language of your readers. You’ll find out how to:

  • Determine when to use jargon to streamline communication — and when to avoid it at all costs.
  • Run a simple test to decide which terms to use with industry insiders.
  • Turn Google into the best thesaurus ever.
  • Define terms the reader-friendly way (Hint: It’s not the way we learned to do it in Journalism 101.)
  • Steal techniques from Warren Buffett to make complex technical information easier to understand — and more fun to read.

Get a writing workout with Ann

Boost readability up to 300% in our clutter-cutting smackdown

In the crunch of writing headlines and meeting deadlines, it sometimes seems as if there’s not enough time to pause and consider how you’re doing.

Get a writing workout with Ann

But in our practice sessions, you’ll get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

Master the skills we study in class and leave with a totally rewritten piece.

Bring your laptop and a story to work on. You’ll get a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece. In these practice sessions, you’ll:

  • Master the techniques you learn in the workshop by applying them immediately. (That’s how we put the “Master” in the Master Class!)
  • Gain valuable insights on your work from your peers and from Ann.
  • Learn to analyze and improve others’ writing — the best skill you can develop for editing others or improving your own work.

Cut Through the Clutter in New York

3. Stop battling reviewers in the approval process …

I empathize with communicators who have to fight comma by comma for approval from people whose only writing credential is that they didn’t flunk out of Mrs. Brown’s third-grade English class. (I once had to run a piece by nearly 100 reviewers, so, believe me: I. Feel. Your. Pain.)

“A Program Manager asked me to write a brochure for him last week. I showed him the chart comparing average number of words per sentence with the percentage of comprehension. That helped persuade him to keep the text simple and to the point.”
— Sharon Foote, public information specialist, Mecklenburg County Water & Land Resources
Sharon Foote

But I also think that one reason we’ve inherited such an unbearable approval process is that as a group, communicators haven’t done a very good job of explaining the art and science of what we do.

After all, you wouldn’t buy the argument, “Sentences are supposed to be short!” But, “According to the American Press Institute’s research correlating sentence length with comprehension, this 42-word sentence will get less than 10% comprehension”? That’s a data point you can sell to management.

The ability to talk about what works and why — and to back that talk up with proven, scientific evidence — is one of the best ways I know to gain more control in the approval process.

“It’s a fantastic course that helped me improve my writing and get it approved by the powers that be.”
— Karen Saari, copywriter, Madison Area Technical College
Karen Saari

Knowledge really is power: In this class, you’ll learn the relevant research you can use to support your ideas and sell your techniques to management.

4. Master new skills with practice and feedback …

I used to love being a writing coach — sort of a personal writing trainer — working 1-to-1 with writers and seeing their work get better and better and better with each draft.

“The piece I worked on at the workshop has improved measurably. I found Cut Through the Clutter to be highly relevant to my daily work, and look forward to putting the tips and techniques into practice.”
— Scott Worden, manager, corporate communications & PR, Magna International
Scott Worden

But over the years, as my corporate and public training business has grown, I’ve had less and less time to work with individuals. A few years ago, I finally had to stop saying “Yes!” even to writers who were willing to pay my $750-an-hour fee to develop their biggest financial asset — their writing skills.

That’s why I love our Master Class practice sessions.

You’ll have a chance to master the techniques we discuss in class by editing and rewriting your own work. I’ll get to look over your shoulder and provide quick suggestions to improve your headlines, your leads, your message angle, your clarity.

“Reviewing other’s work and progression provided a lot of inspiration I wasn’t expecting.”
— Kersten Rohrbach, communication specialist, Edward Jones

Then — if you think my insights are valuable — you’ll have a chance to get a formal critique from the billion-dollar brain trust of professional communicators in the room. I always get new ideas in these sessions, and I’ve been teaching this stuff for 20 years!

To say that you’ll leave with a completely rewritten piece is an understatement.

BONUS: Plus, a few weeks after class, you’ll receive a compilation of everyone’s work, so you can steal approaches from and be inspired by your classmates’ progress, as well.

“I cannot believe how much I changed and improved one piece in this session. I also enjoyed the ability to hear more from the other professionals in the room. Very interactive, which I loved.”
— Megan McCarl, public relations associate, Lambert, Edwards & Associates
Megan McCarl

I want in! But how do I convince my boss?

I’ll handle the boss. (Or I am the boss!) Just sign me up.

Don’t miss out: Save up to $300 — plus, earn a bonus worth $97 when you register early …

The clear writing Master Class runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 17-18 at the The Marmara Park Avenue in New York.

Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's clear-writing workshop on April 17-18, 2018 in New York

The fee for both days is just $1,195. (There are many ways to save, but you need to act now.)

That’s little more than I used to charge for an hour of my time for a one-on-one coaching session — and a fraction of the cost of bringing me to your company for a one-day workshop.

“Absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent. I learned more about writing for my audience from Ann in one day than I have in any other seminar.”
—  Carrie Behounek, marketing communications coordinator, COPIC Companies

The sooner you book, the more you save.

You have my promise that the Master Class will be the best money you invest this year on your professional development. But here are five ways to get the most training for your investment:

  1. Save $100 when you register by March 17.
  2. Save $100 if you’re a Rev Up Readership member. (Join Rev Up Readership.)
  3. Save $100 each when you bring two or more colleagues. Save $50 each when you bring one colleague. (Big group? If you have 10 or more colleagues who would benefit from training, let’s see whether a customized, in-house writing workshop makes more sense.)
  4. Save up to $450 on follow-up learning tools, subscriptions and coaching sessions when you upgrade to our Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels.
  5. Earn a free, 3-month subscription to Rev Up Readership — a $97 value — if you’re among the first 5 to register. SOLD OUT!
“The blend of proven data, style tips, and way to tighten writing is fantastic. Ann is a great instructor — clear, funny and so smart.”
— Abigail Reid, writer/editor, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
Abigail Reid

Read all the fine print.

Another reason it pays to be fast …

Our training room — an absolutely perfect facility for learning — is comfortable and convenient. However, it’s not huge. So I’m afraid the Master Class is strictly limited to the first 40 people who register.

Unfortunately, if yours is the 41st registration we receive, we’ll have to tell you we’re sorry, but we’re full. To avoid being disappointed, please register now.

Download a one-page summary about this class (PDF)..

Make 2018 your year …

Why not make 2018 the year you become the go-to person for clear writing in your organization? The one who can report measurable improvement in readability before year-end reviews? The one who knows how to reach all of your readers — not just the small fraction of highly literate folks at the top of the charts?

“I learned techniques that improved my writing; I only wish it had been 20 years sooner!”
— Shelley Nelson, freelance marketing & communications consultant
Shelley Nelson

How would that change your year? How could that change your life?

Let’s find out! Join me for Cut Through the Clutter on April 17-18 in New York. Register now.


Ann Wylie

Ann Wylie

Still have questions?
Here’s our FAQ


So you can’t afford to enroll in this class? I received an email this morning from a writer who said she really needed this Master Class but couldn’t afford to attend.

Communicators! If you make your living writing, your writing skills are your No. 1 financial asset! Fail to invest in your skills today, and you certainly won’t be able to afford this class tomorrow. What’s your personal annual budget for investing your skills and success?


Can I just order the video? Sorry, no videos on this one. No audio recordings. No e-book in the offing. No webinars at a later date. No materials I can send you if you can’t make it.

The only way to learn to Cut Through the Clutter is to be in New York on April 17-18.

“One of the best career experiences I’ve had.”
— Scott Worden, manager, corporate communications & PR, Magna International
Scott Worden

Register for Cut Through the Clutter in New York

You’ll have mastered a system for writing clearly before you know it!

Questions? Ann@WylieComm.com; 503-954-2289.