Almost every text on writing or speaking skills lists a set of criteria that can be used to judge the effectiveness of a document or presentation. If this list of words, all beginning with the letter C, helps you remember some of the criteria for good writing, the technique of alliteration has worked. If, however, this list leaves you cold, create your own list, but remember to retain the concept of each C-word in your newly created list. |Clear |This is the most important C-word. If your reader cannot understand what you are trying to say | | |or if he/she has to reread a section of your document, you have failed to communicate.
| | |Choose simple words/sentences—this is especially critical when describing complex ideas. | | |Make only one point at a time. | | |Offer frequent examples or provide illustrations to support your main points. | | |Interpret critical results for your reader. | | |Restate your ideas when appropriate | |Complete |Have a definite topic sentence or introductory paragraph | | |Answer all of the reporter-type questions (who, what, when, where, and why) in the middle | | |section of your document. | | |Have a definite concluding sentence or closing paragraph.
| |Concise |Check for repetitious or unnecessary words that can be deleted. | | |Choose shorter words where appropriate | | |Shorten sentences where appropriate. | |Convincing |Emphasize the benefits of your point of view/position statement. | | |Provide your rationale for reaching a conclusion. | | |Recognize any objections your readers may have to your position. | | |Allow your passion about your topic to come through your writing. | |Compelling |Create a document that is a “page-turner. ” | | |Engage your reader by describing critical data as if you were verbally telling him/her a story.
| |Courteous |Think of any document as a tool for building good will. In general, create a tone of | | |friendliness and helpfulness. | | |Respond to the reader’s WIIFM’s. | |Creative |Allow your personality to come through your writing. | | |Draw colorful word pictures for your readers. | | |Challenge yourself to find new ways to talk about old ideas. | |Correct |Proofread for careless spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. | | |Use transitions to ensure the reader understands the logical sequence of your ideas. | | |Make sure you have a defined beginning, middle, and end. |