professional writers

6 Ways Professional Writers Communicate Complex Information

Communicating complex information has become its own niche in writing. Consider the plethora of books titled “[Whatever Subject] for Dummies. Those books speak and sell volumes.

It’s not surprising that there’s a market for them. The world has become more complex as ordinary folk have access to complicated information. Technology, cultures, languages, values, and more merge into daily life at a fast clip. It can be difficult to keep up.

Enter, professional writers. At its core, writing is all about communicating. Writers are therefore challenged to break down monoliths to bite-size pieces most people can understand.

How do they do it? Here are six ways they do.

1. They Analyze the Subject Matter

Within the realm of professional writers is a type called “technical writers.” These wordsmiths break down complex information related to a variety of content. Instruction and user manuals, assembly and installation instructions, product specifications, case studies, and software manuals are just a few.

Of course, technical writing services can’t be delivered by just any writer. These writers must analyze and understand the subject matter themselves before they can translate the information for others. Then, they have to organize the information and retell it in a way the audience can comprehend.

Technical writers are their own breed. Without them to make sense of the complicated, many people might be unable to grasp a great deal of today’s information.

2. They Watch Their Language

There’s a well-established but informal rule that to communicate to general audiences, writers should write at a sixth-grade level. It shouldn’t insult high-level readers, but it won’t leave out those who may have difficulty.

If the point is to reduce complex information to something comprehensible to the audience, the language used should be simple. Shorter sentences and brief paragraphs make it easier to read. So does using the active voice and using concrete, rather than abstract, words that are tangible, observable, and measurable.

When writing pros translate complex information, they leave their big words at home. The purpose of their writing is to communicate, after all, not to impress readers with their vocabulary. Plain language, rather than elevated, will get the job done.

3. They Make It Relatable

One of the best ways to help people understand difficult subjects is by making them relatable to the reader. For example, they use examples. People may not understand what cardiovascular diseases are but using examples such as high blood pressure and heart disease make sense.

Telling stories is a device that writers often employ to bring complex concepts to life. They may also use metaphors or analogies to help readers understand concepts (even if readers don’t know the difference between them).

Think about children’s books that use stories to teach lessons. The stories make them relatable, which makes them understandable. And you don’t have to be a child for that tactic to work.

4. They Draw a Picture

Words aren’t the only tools writers have in their toolbox. A picture, diagram, video, graph, or other visual can paint a thousand of them. Although writers may not create them, they do know when images can bolster their prose.

The human brain processes visual images at a significantly faster rate than text. Moreover, they increase comprehension when paired with well-written text. Consider how much more difficult it is to understand data when you read just numbers versus seeing data in a graph.

Writers need to communicate information clearly for designers, video graphers, and other artists to interpret it visually. But the power of combining the written word with visuals packs a powerful punch.

5. They Order Information

The brain processes information in certain ways. Especially when communicating complex information, writers need to use the psychology related to that processing. If they don’t, their writing may confuse more than it clarifies.

For example, take the primacy effect and recency effect. People simply remember what they read or hear at the beginning and at the end more than anything in between. Moreover, steps in a process, like instructions, need to be communicated in order because that’s what makes sense.

Writers understand that what they write isn’t the only important factor in communication. How they organize it is just as vital. Otherwise, information would be chaotic.

6. They Put Information into Context

The use of artificial intelligence is gaining speed. Some companies, publications, and organizations are trying to replace writers with this technology. When they do, they’re missing context.

AI is proficient at gathering a ton of information at a rapid pace. What it lacks, however, is a writer’s ability to put all that information into context. Writers discern what’s relevant and how it applies to the content they’re writing.

AI is a tool writers use to uncover information. But it takes a human effort to make it accurate, relevant, and comprehensible.

Write On

It would have been difficult to imagine in the 20th century what we would need to make sense of today. People didn’t have to program their refrigerator or figure out how to use an app. Information that was too complex, like learning the pathology of a health condition, was simply left to those who understood it.

The mere fact that the internet can make information accessible to everyone doesn’t mean everyone can understand it. That’s a challenge for professional writers. Thankfully, they’re up for the task and armed with the right tools.

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