Which techniques, when?

As you’ll notice from the examples in these guidelines, we don’t need to use all the techniques all of the time.

It can be helpful to think of a range from informative to engaging to inspiring. When we’re focusing mostly on informing people, we are usually focused on using the techniques that give us the greatest clarity.

When we want to inspire people, we’re also adding the techniques that are more attention-grabbing and add more emotion.

There are no hard and fast rules though, and you’ll need to use your own judgment.

(For example, you might want to give a technical application note an attention-grabbing headline.)


Focus on the things that keep things clear:

  • Write in active sentences
  • Make information easy to skim

(e.g. Application notes, technical white papers)


Use all the basics techniques, and also pay particular attention to:

  • Focusing on the big picture
  • Saying only what’s most important
  • Writing conversationally

(e.g. Product brochures, most web pages, blogs, internal intranet, emails, presentations)


Add the extras that really bring our words to life:

  • Add energy with short sentences
  • Add unexpected surprises

(e.g. Invites for events, recruitment and job ads, some blogs, some web pages, speeches and keynotes)