The Inverted Pyramid
Here’s a tip from the newsroom: the inverted pyramid style of writing. It will help you to get your message across faster. It was developed by journalists for reasons that are completely irrelevant today… or are they?
The inverted pyramid principle says you should put your most important point at the top of the article, followed by your next most important point, and so on, in diminishing order of importance.
Newspapers still use this principle today, but where did it come from? Many historians say that the inverted pyramid was invented by 19th century wartime reporters, who sent their stories by telegraph. They wanted the most crucial information to get through first, just in case the transmission was interrupted.
But, you say, we don’t send many telegrams today. Ah, but more than ever, we do send messages that can easily be interrupted! Distraction, impatience, confusion, even boredom; all these can keep your reader from finishing those precious words that you’ve written. Busy people expect writers to get to the meat quickly, or they’ll find something else to read.
The next time you write something, decide what your most important point is. If they don’t hear anything else you say, what do you want them to hear? Then, say that first.
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