By Dana P Skopal, PhD
Our blogs have covered planning, writing and editing. However, a written message needs to get its message across – that often means convincing the reader with evidence and analysis. Recently, when reviewing a manager’s work we realised the written text was too descriptive and a reader could not easily find the analysis. As writers and readers, what do we understand by this term ‘analysis’?
Many readers may associate analysis with data, but analysis can be a process of working through complex information to find a possible solution. An analytical approach may also be how to research and explain a range of options. Hence a writer may be explaining the options with the details they discovered, but a reader wants to know why these options are important. These two perspectives can be different and possibly lead to a reader not following a writer’s descriptive analysis.
Information overload such as complex descriptions can mean you will lose your reader, so focus on why your message/ analysis is important for the organisation and the key items your reader needs to know. This process may entail you standing back; aim to summarise your message in one minute and explain why your analysis is important for the proposed solution or recommendation.
Another checklist that writers use is to list the five Ws and 1 H on one page. Check that you have clearly explained the key details and analysis by covering:
- who is involved (and will benefit)
- what can happen
- when this process can happen
- where people will be working
- why this evidence /solution is important
- how things will link together.