Keep your stories simple, keep your sentences short

Storytelling? Great. But that’s no excuse writing sentences half a page long. Yes, you should take your reader alongside you in your story. But don’t  let them get lost in sentences so long, Isabelle Allende would be proud of you. In a book you can get lost, should get lost. But do you want your readers to get lost in your business communication? To the point they won’t even be bothered to read your next post because it was so long and so vague, so hard to read?

Time is money

Wasting time on endless posts that don’t cut to the chase, costs you and your client. But you have a high-end business? Lots of science, lots of high-tech, lots of benefits you have to explain? Still no excuse for sentences so long that, by the time you get to the end, you forgot what the subject was.

Use 15 words per sentence on average. 15? Yes, that’s the number of words the majority of people can comprehend. 25% can handle 20 words. 10% can handle up to 25 words. Handle. That doesn’t mean they enjoy it more.

The danger of a really long sentence? The possibility your audience has to reread your sentence to get your point. The moment they have to reread something, there is a good chance you’ve lost your audience. And if it is hard to understand, why even bother to read the rest?

Have a lot to say? Use:

  • Several short sentences instead of one long one.
  • Bullet points
  • Punctuation marks

Above all: limit the number of words in one sentence. So, no subordinate clause in a subordinate clause in a subordinate clause…

Yes, even if you are a B2B tech company. High-end industries shouldn’t equal incomprehensible long sentences. No one likes reading those. Keep it short, keep it simple. Help your client make the most of their time by being clear and straight-forward in your texts.

Stick to your 5 W’s and 1H: who, what, where, when, why and how. And:

  • Use approx. 15 words per sentence
  • Limit the number of subordinate clauses to one per sentence max.
  • Use punctation marks

Not matter the IQ of your reader.

Still tend to write sentences that tell it ALL? Sentences half a page long? Sentence you can drown in? Let me help you stick to the facts important for your client. Let me write your story for you.

Happy communicating * Nadine


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