Impressive writing vs writing to impress

I am most impressed by writing that makes a point clearly, succinctly and in language that is appropriate to the audience. If you’re writing an article that’s targeted to plumbers, it’s okay to use terminology common to the industry with little or no explanation. It’s safe to assume that professional plumbers understand trade jargon. But if you’re writing about plumbing to a guy like me who thinks a wrench is a woman of questionable character, you may need to dumb down your word usage. Add a little humor to it—even better. It helps me laugh off my incompetence in home improvement. 

For example, I understand very basic plumbing concepts like rusty pipes. Suggesting there’s a potential for disharmony when using rusty pipes in the shower makes me feel especially intelligent because I get the joke. 

I’m not opposed to using challenging terminology. I think it’s good for the writer and the reader. Just don’t over do it so much I have to hold a dictionary in my lap to understand what you’re saying. It makes me think you’re trying to impress me with your extensive vocabulary more than you’re trying to communicate to me. And communicating is what you’re supposed to be doing. Do that…add a touch of humor…and I’ll be impressed.

 

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  1. submitted by Jd Webb - on January 24 2010

    Love the post.

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