Join Judy Steiner-Williams for an in-depth discussion in this video Importance of organization structure, part of Writing in Plain English.
- How important is a good organizational structure? If you're referring to making an actual business grow and profit, a good organizational structure is extremely important. To achieve that strong, successful structure requires goals and planning. Part of that planning is an organizational chart to provide a framework for the flow of communication. The right people are involved at the right time. In fact, an organizational chart looks almost like an outline. A diagram.
Same question. How important is a good organizational structure? If you're referring to producing writing that meets the plain English criteria the answer is the same. Extremely mandatory. You have to have a goal before you write. To inform or to persuade, for example. And you have to have a plan. To have that framework, that diagram, that outline. An outline is not busywork. That outline provides a clear organizational pattern.
For longer documents the outline will probably need to be written. For shorter, more routine documents the outline may be a mental one. Either way, you must plan to meet your goal. And one of those goals is to write in plain English. Start with those major points you want your reader to know. And then what order you want to present them. Any sub-points for support or more detail? How will you end the document? Some companies provide templates for those documents that are written on a regular basis. Are you giving a timeline? Then a chronological structure might be best.
For example, a client hired you to produce a new marketing campaign. You're giving your client a timeline for implementing the recommended campaign. That would be a clear organizational pattern. Or maybe you need to divide the marketing campaign into various channels. In store, online, or into different demographics. Those could both be arranged by topic. Or stores in different parts of the country would lend itself to a geographical arrangement. Maybe you're recommending two major marketing campaigns, and three lesser ones.
Consider organizing by order of importance. One organizing technique you might want to consider especially for more complex documents, is the MECE Principle. An acronym for Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive. Let's take our clients need for an improved marketing campaign. Organizing the recommendations by who will see them is not MECE. Because customers might see the campaign in a variety of ways. In store, online, in the newspaper, and on television.
So it's not mutually exclusive. But a possible organizational pattern that could be mutually exclusive might be where people live. Assuming each viewer has one home in one location. And that would include everyone so it is collectively exhaustive. You can find more information on MECE at this website. Also a book entitled, "The Mackenzie Mind "Understanding and Implementing the Problem "Solving Tools and Management Techniques "of the World's Top Strategic Consulting Firms" gives more about the MECE principle.
This principle is a popular technique for consulting firms because consultants can't communicate complex information to clients in a way that eliminates confusion and ensures thoroughness. The information is organized in a logical clear way. That sounds a lot like the goal of plain English. To help you decide the best organizational pattern ask two questions. What is my goal and what does my reader want? And then move in a clear organized path. Is each section logical? Does each paragraph have a topic sentence? That one sentence that tells the reader the one idea for that paragraph.
Do the ideas clearly connect from paragraph to paragraph? Section to section? Organize your writing so that it makes sense to your reader. The reader probably wants to know immediately what is this about and, what do you want me to do? So clear organization is the logical structural framework for easy to follow and easy to understand writing. Easy to follow easy to understand. That meets the definition of plain English.
If you can write in plain English, you can save time, save money, and save face in communications. Start watching to learn how to make your writing more "plain": stronger, clearer, and more concise.
- Explain how to make your writing clear, concise, and straightforward.
- Recognize the average reading level for most audiences.
- Identify commonly overused words.
- Recognize how strong verbs can help avoid passive writing.
- Explore the benefits of deleting extra words.
- Define “weasel words.”