The information age is also the age of the short attention span. We typically write for people who must spend much of each day reading. Many readers would prefer a pill that puts the information in their brain. We can’t give them that—but we can strive to give them the prose equivalent of a pill, rather than the prose equivalent of a meatloaf.
This talk outlines the basics of minimalist writing. Technical writers will find most of the concepts familiar—active voice, short sentences, etc. Minimalist writing stresses these concepts even more than general technical writing. Understanding and practicing minimalist writing benefits any kind of communication, including marketing.
Visiting Dojo Expert
Bruce Poropat has worked on content projects for Bank of the West, William-Sonoma, Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo, PG&E, University of California, Safeway, Gap, and many other organizations. He worked on plain language conversion for Caltrans and the Port of Oakland—converting dense legalese into normal language.
He lived the first part of his childhood in Haiti, and moved to California at age 11. He now lives in Berkeley with his wife, who is a scientist for a biomedical company. Bruce plays guitar, and he, his wife, and two children all play with the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers.
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