Whether you are an entrepreneur eager for funding or a middle manager living in email, strong professional writing is critical to accelerating your impact. But professional writing is not easy. At Harvard Kennedy School, where I teach writing, I see professionals struggling with chaotic, long, unclear writing every day. Fortunately, the way to improve is simple: good writing focuses only on what the audience needs. That's it.

For many people who learn how to write in college, writing is about demonstrating our ingenuity or our level of understanding of these materials so that the listener will practice first. First, you can share important information first to make it easier for readers to find the point; improve it in sentences, paragraphs, and documents. Writing this way can be embarrassing, but in the professional world, your audience is busy. Move the bottom line forward.

Another way to show sympathy to your audience is to be brief. Is your sentence four lines long? You can also improve simplicity and clarity with active voice writing. Academic writing is passive, while compassionate professional writing is active. You can assess how passive your writing is by looking for some frequently used error hints (such as "presence", "not", and "ever"). After finding these words, rewrite the sentence to make it tense and active. This won't work all the time, but it often works, and when you rewrite these sentences, your article will be shorter.

Also, make sure to write inclusively, not exclusively. Your boss (the intended audience) may know all the terms and acronyms you use, but what happens when she sends an email to the Human Resources department about a potential new employee and forgets it in your jargon ? You may have poor communication, even hire the wrong person, or even worse. Always write articles for "smart novice readers"-usually they are smart readers but don't know what you mean. Avoid acronyms and define all terms; you don't want readers to be stupid without knowing themselves, or to have someone leave the report or email to look for content. They may not return.

Finally, if you know your audience well, your writing will be better. However, if you don't, it's important to understand them. If they are busy school supervisors and early education (your subject) is rarely on their list, then please be brief. If they are lawmakers who claim to care about human rights but have not put human rights into practice, look for one or two compelling figures that affect them, and nothing more. If they are city council members who are interested in advocating for more open green spaces, but are concerned about losing parking funds, please assure other cities. In other words, learn more about what your audience knows, cares and fears, and write it down.

This transformation, which I call "audience-centric writing," requires time and energy. You need to learn to modify the active tone, reduce words, and simplify operations. But this is mainly a change of mind. Because good professional writing attracts readers. And this type of writing is easier to read, and thus expands on the changes the author wants.

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