Become Less Conversational In Your Writing

Sometimes we write what we speak verbally but that strategy doesn’t always work because the context is often missing when writing your articles.

The challenge with writing articles that become very conversational is that it’s hard to figure out what your primary point or theme is? The solution is to GET TO THE POINT. :-)

Also, eliminate very wordy sentences such as this one: “I don’t necessariliy mean to imply that, but sometimes better than not you will find that it is true.” when you could easily say, “In most cases, you will find that it’s true.”

Also, don’t apologize to the reader. Instead, start by not insulting them with long complex and very wordy sentences. Our lives are busy enough that we don’t have time to be bogged down with a highly verbose writing style.

Another way to become less conversational: Write in shorter sentences (7-12 words max per sentence) and shorter paragraphs (3-7 sentences max per paragraph).

Lastly, go back and read what you wrote out loud and ask yourself this question: Would someone become bored with me if I was talking this way to them? If so, go back and try to figure out how to ‘get to the point’ better and in fewer words.

14 Comments »


1
Audrey Okaneko writes:

Chris,

I always love reading your blog posts. I continue to learn more about article writing each time I read your blog entries. (darn 15 words)

Thanks,

Audrey

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 1:26 PM

[Reply]

2
Edward Weiss writes:

There may be an exception to this. It’s called the “guru” voice where readers expect to hear an educated rant from the author.

Although, the rant still better hold my attention. :)

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 1:38 PM

[Reply]

3

The best writing balances long and short sentences. You can completely change the pace of an article by changing the length of sentences. A few short, quick sentences speed up the pace and implied urgency of what’s written. A long narrative sentence slows the reader down. Either can be overdone. As Chris said, always go back and read your article aloud, maybe even after a short break. Does it still make sense? Is is boring? Does it move the reader along? You can be conversational, depending and the content and context — if you don’t lose the grammar and structure needed to communicate meaning accurately.

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 2:07 PM

[Reply]

4

Edward,

You mean like a Dennis Miller rant? That guy cracks me up with his very wordy rants that put you in a trance and rarely make any logical sense.

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 2:30 PM

[Reply]

5
Edward Weiss writes:

Kind of. More like a “man in the know” rant where you already trust the author and pretty much believe everthing they say as the truth.

But, you pretty much have to be an expert in your field to pull this off.

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 2:43 PM

[Reply]

6
Lisa Sparks writes:

Chris,

No conversational tone in EzineArticles? Really?

I’d say the key is balancing conversation with getting to the point.

But without a conversational tone there’s no hook for the reader to go forward into the advice that is given in the article.

There’s no trust without conversation. It’s like a man asking a woman out and then as soon as they’re at dinner reaching across the table for a kiss.

Where’s the wining, dining and romance? That’s what the conversational part of the article is all about.

The advice for writers should be: Keep the conversational part of your articles, clear, short, catchy and to-the-point.

Bonus point: I usually stick to about two conversational paragraphs of two to three short sentences before getting right into the heart of the advice portion of the article.

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 5:50 PM

[Reply]

7
Lance Winslow writes:

Interesting topic once again, great comments too.

Much of the writing style that is used is up to the author. Some authors cannot pull off the conversational stuff well. Conversationalism allows the 2D screen to reach out in 3D to the reader and then 4D as the reader gets emotionally involved and thoughts are propelled by transmitting neurons. I would submit that whereas Chris makes a very significant point, there is a time for conversational article sentences and yes try to keep them from becoming too wordy, yet also know when to reach out and shake hands with or smile at your reader.

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 6:21 PM

[Reply]

8
Gary Cordingley writes:

Here’s a similar technique that almost always improves writing: remove 20% of the words. It sounds arbitrary because, well, it is. But doing so is a great gift to the reader because it sharpens and tightens the message.

Comment provided December 13, 2006 at 8:55 PM

[Reply]

9

Lisa,

I didn’t say that articles should be completely void of conversational tone…

I do agree that a balance is needed.

Lately I’ve read quite a few articles where the first 7 paragraphs were boring conversations when I, as the reader, just wanted to quickly get the writers point.

Perhaps the real issue is that writers often fail to use enough WHITE SPACE when they put their articles together, visually-speaking.

:)

Comment provided December 14, 2006 at 1:27 PM

[Reply]

10
Parsa Mohebi writes:

Chris,

Thanks, I enjoyed your post. I think one key element to maintain the attention of readers is to believe in what you are writing. That is also true when you speak. When I am excited about something, I can not use wordy sentences. I want to make my point across with the fewest possible words.

Comment provided December 14, 2006 at 1:55 PM

[Reply]

11

I prefer conversational writing—short sentences, short paragraphs and punchy verbs.

In my work as a writing coach, I find that the writers who are the most difficult to teach are those who have come from an academic background.

They write long sentences and long paragraphs, and they use highfalutin words to make themselves sound important. That kind of writing only confuses the reader.

Comment provided December 14, 2006 at 2:20 PM

[Reply]

12

Good points made in this blog – thanks.

I’m still relatively new to writing articles for ezines and so am still honing my skills.

The previous comments have been very helpful too.

Comment provided December 14, 2006 at 4:28 PM

[Reply]

13
Hermas Haynes writes:

Do we necessarily need to be “less conversational” in our writing, or should we be more focused on how we use this element to deliver the points we want to make?

Conversation, by its very nature is casual and meandering, and when we use this style in our articles, it ought to be done in a way that engages the reader and leads him or her to the point.

There is also the suggestion of equality that attaches to a conversation, as opposed to the teacher/student feeling one gets from a lecture, for example.

If it is measured and balanced, a conversational tone to put oneself at eye-level with the reader, is a useful tactic for getting and keeping their interest.

Comment provided December 14, 2006 at 7:33 PM

[Reply]

14
Lance Winslow writes:

After considering this topic at length, I am going to have to say that being more conversational in one’s articles is better. There will be people who disagree with me, but I think that they need to reconsider their position on this subject. I think article authors need to lighten up and think about it from the customer’s perspective or the reader in this case. Do they wish to be talked to or talked at? Think on this.

Comment provided December 16, 2006 at 4:45 PM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.