A recent Quartz article compares The Economist magazine’s style book for writing to Bloomberg’s.
Across a lot of differences – including one major one on how much you should ‘interfere’ (my term) with or edit a writer’s words – the style books both agree on one thing.
That is, that George Orwell’s six timeless rules for writing still apply. Both styles guides reference him throughout. These rules are from his 1946 essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print
- Never use a long word where a short one will do
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out
- Never use the passive where you can use the active
- Never use a foreign phrase, scientific word or jargon is you can think of an everyday English equivalent
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous
Obeying those rules won’t necessarily result in persuasive words however.
Messages that matter need SAUCE – an acronym for Simple, Appealing, Unexpected, Credible and Emotional.
The Secret SAUCE book is presently available for free download – its a diagnostic and recipe for persuasive messaging.
If nothing else, it will forever alter the way you look at messages and what they’re trying to say.