Writing Secret 6: Help Your Reader Feel Smart

When we speak, we often use shortcuts, jargon, and cleverness to get our points across. If we confuse anyone in the audience, we can explain what we're thinking in the moment.

However, when we write, all that cleverness doesn't always help our ideal reader understand. Sometimes, we alienate or confuse our ideal readers with our cleverness. Instead of showing how clever we are, we can help our readers feel smart.

I was clever in the title for my Is Your Product Owner an Overloaded Operator? article. Many product owners are technical. However, not all of them understand the idea of an overloaded operator in software development terms. My title confused some of my ideal readers.

I could have used a different title, such as “Product Owners: Overloaded and Underappreciated,” and helped my ideal readers feel smart. Not confused.

I've learned since then.

We don't have to eliminate all shortcuts when we write. I use “agile” and “agile approach” in my writing. I don't talk about the Agile Manifesto for Software Development every time. However, I assume that my readers have a basic (or advanced!) understanding of what I mean.

When we help our readers feel smart, we don't belittle, disparage, or patronize them. Nor do we show how clever we are.

We write as if we have valuable expertise and experience to share.

If you want to learn more writing secrets, and register for the April 2022 writing workshop, see Writing Workshop 1: Free Your Inner Writer & Sell Your Nonfiction Ideas. Register now to learn how to write easier and faster. And to help your readers feel smart.

See all the posts in this intermittent series of “writing secrets”.

1 thought on “Writing Secret 6: Help Your Reader Feel Smart”

  1. Pingback: Dew Drop – March 10, 2022 (#3639) – Morning Dew by Alvin Ashcraft

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