To make people want to read your work, give it strong visual impact.
Subheadings are signposts
They tell readers what’s to come, and therefore whether they need to read it. They help structure your ideas. You can use a different font, or a bigger one, capitals or make them bold.
Watch your paragraph length
Imagine having to tackle something like this:
In business writing, use short paragraphs as they give the reader’s eyes a chance to ‘breathe’. One sentence paragraphs are perfectly acceptable. You’re writing more as a journalist than an academic.
Vary their length so not to become monotonous.
Speaking of breathing, this is crucial:
Can you see it? White space keeps the page uncluttered and provides breaks for the eyes and time for you to digest what you’ve just read.
Reasons you should insert bullets:
- They are easy to read
- They help us remember things
- They introduce variety
Bullets work well for a small number of equally important ideas.
Use numbered lists for:
- A sequence
- Ideas in order of importance
- Instead of a long list of bullets
On the question of full-stops in lists, some writers just use them for sentences. Some use none at all and others use none except for the last item. The only consensus is to be consistent.
Add charts, tables and figures
Charts and tables break up text in a visually appealing way and help the reader understand complex ideas and data. Figures can be any diagram, infographic or image that explains an idea or has some relevancy to the text.
Consider using columns
One final rule
Horizontal rules help show your structure, marking the end of sections for clarity.
Next time you’re reading a document, think about the visual elements and their effects. Can you spot any others?
You can have fun with visual impact on my writing courses—take a look!