July 28th, 2010
Here are two writing techniques to keep your reader’s attention.
A blogger recommends strategies to improve “attention fitness” in “How to Rebuild Your Attention Span and Focus” (lifehacker.com, July 27, 2010). The following headings represent ways Clay Johnson changed his computer habits to boost his attention span:
- Ditched the second monitor
- Turned the mouse off during work time
- Created a proactive routine
- The environment around me
The fourth heading is vague, and it disrupts the sequence of verbs. Precise language and parallel form are two strategies to hook a reader’s eye and keep it on your prose. We’d use them to reword this heading to be “Minimized environmental distractions.”
Johnson focused his own attention by wearing noise-canceling headphones, eating healthy snacks, and consolidating meetings. You can focus your reader’s attention by using precise language and structuring your lists with parallel verbs.
For tips on parallel structure, list organization, and paragraph sequencing, see our updated book Professional Writing Skills: A Write It Well Guide.
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